The The Education Trust notes that 2 in 5 Black and Latino students say they enjoy STEM courses and aspire to go to college. Still, less than 3 percent are enrolling in STEM courses. According to ChildStats.gov, in 2017-2018, only 5% of the nation's high school students were enrolled in calculus, and 5% were enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) mathematics. STEM entry into most top universities requires calculus. For those universities with reduced requirements, 20% of the nation's high school students were enrolled in Algebra 2, and 16% were enrolled in advanced mathematics.
Poor grades and drop-out rates are part of a cycle of inequality, low self-esteem, and consequent societal issues such as crime, youth violence, gang membership, and lack of civic participation. This crisis systematically builds alienation and inequalities. There is also a skills shortage in high-wage, high-growth sectors and a lack of diversity in the workforce, shown to impact corporate performance significantly. Respect and recognition from the community, parents, industry, and peers developed in CTE pathways through skill building, industry certification, Advanced Placement, and mathematics completion opportunities contribute to breaking this cycle.