The Pressure To Stay In STEM Classes

Listen Now Download

Share this story:


I recently dropped a course for the first time: calculus. But I felt pressured to stay — partly because I was one of the few Latinas in class.

The goal is to get more girls and people of color into STEM courses–and here I am, dropping out. I felt bad being given this opportunity and passing on it. In the past, I haven’t worried so much that I’m a Latina girl in the classroom, but usually I’ve been more confident with the material. As I got older, and more aware of race inequalities.

I started noticing in my AP classes, there were less students that looked like me. And the issue goes beyond my school. It’s reflected in classrooms all over the country.

Black and Latino students make up 37 percent of high school students but only 27 percent of students in AP classes, that’s according to the Education Department.

Schools usually present education as a ladder. The harder you work, the higher you climb. But if minorities are underrepresented in the more competitive classes, how can we be expected to climb as high?

Listen Now