Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

Lost Einsteins: What Does It Take to Realize Every Child's Potential?

| Dec. 19, 2017

In a knowledge economy, our greatest natural resources are not pulled from the ground. They’re in the minds of our children. But while we have continued to invent clever new ways to extract natural capital, a recent report from the Equality of Opportunity Project makes the case that we’ve been less successful in tapping the potential of our students.

The study brought together patent application data with federal tax returns to give us a unique look at the geographic background and educational pathways of inventors. Most alarming, the report showed that students from low-income families who performed well in math were no more likely to become inventors than their low-performing peers. That suggests that millions of students are held back despite their aptitude.

Creating equal opportunity for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM — i.e., girls, students from low-income households, and students of color — could quadruple the country’s pool of inventors.

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For Academic Citation: Summers, Lawrence and Emily McCann.“Lost Einsteins: What Does It Take to Realize Every Child's Potential?.” The Boston Globe, December 19, 2017.

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