Americans think about and respond to the topics of STEM education and learning in out-of-school settings in patterned ways. Sometimes, this can undermine support for effective solutions, and cause people to ignore what advocates are calling for. It is crucial that we become aware of and familiar with these default patterns of understanding in order to accurately anticipate what our communications efforts must overcome.
The FrameWorks Institute, a nonprofit communications think tank, has identified the most effective ways of communicating about afterschool and summer STEM education, and the strategies detailed here have been tested for their ability to improve public understanding and increase support for key reforms. In all, more than 6,350 Americans were queried as part of this specific research through interviews, surveys and focus groups. Over 400 articles and communication materials were analyzed.
Whether you're talking with a policy maker, a funder, potential community or school partners, or parents, there are common framing strategies that can help make a powerful argument for why afterschool and summer STEM matters. And by using materials from the Afterschool STEM Hub, your local advocacy efforts will harmonize with the efforts of advocates across the nation. In speaking a common language, we can amplify our voices, assure greater attention to these issues, and expand children's access to effective afterschool and summer STEM learning.
This project is led by the Afterschool Alliance in collaboration with national afterschool and summer leaders and stakeholders who seek to ensure these programs are considered a key component in the STEM learning ecosystem. Initially funded by the Noyce Foundation and with continuing support from the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, we produce coordinated messaging and advocacy tools built on the FrameWorks Institute’s rigorous communications research. Questions? Email us.