This edition of the PG Highlights series focuses in on the area of STEM as we definitely need more male educators of color in STEM classrooms in public schools.

Today we highlight Dr. Raymont L. Burke of Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Burke currently teaches Robotics and provides a free STEM Camp for school aged children raised by grandparents through Lillie’s Foundation.

Dr. Burke shares with us what he would like to see done to improve access to quality STEM and Robotics programs for Black and brown students from his experience in public education.

He states that over the past few years, he has experienced district and school leaders wanting to have more STEM and STEAM type programs in their institutions, only for when the programs come to the schools, leaders financial support declines. 

He has discovered that district and school administrators love having these types of programs, but fall short of FULL support when it comes to forking out the required funding to provide adequate staffing and resources for STEM programs. This attributes greatly to the low percentage of Black students involved in robotics competitions and higher level tech programs.

Red tape, lack of understanding of the industry, or just using STEM as an “enrollment draw” have been some, but not all of the obstacles I’ve observed.  Additionally, school level STEM and CTAE support and guidance is little to non existent. 

Dr. Burke has an answer on how we can improve this. He believes a solution to this obstacle would be to first employ a STEM/CTAE Director at the school district level who can ensure proper budgeting and program planning is taking place. He also believes that each school should have a dedicated employee as a resource for STEM education for educators, students and parents. 

He would really like to see is more of a purpose item line allocated solely to STEM/STEAM/CTAE initiatives.