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Up close: Education initiative - United States

Education is the fundamental building block of individual opportunity and economic growth, and STEM skills, in particular, are critical to ensuring today’s students are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century. Over the past few years, we have narrowed the focus of our U.S. education programs to help address the STEM challenge and are investing in fewer but larger-scale programs – ones with the potential to make a national impact. We focus on three key areas: training highly qualified teachers in math and science; encouraging students from all backgrounds to pursue math and science; and graduating more students from high school ready for success in college and careers. In 2014, we invested $26 million in STEM-related programs in the United States and $26 million in international education programs.

First-year increase in math and science AP test scores

In 2007, ExxonMobil joined with other companies and foundations to initiate a national public-private partnership to meet the STEM challenge in the United States: the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). NMSI’s College Readiness Program provides training for teachers to help students master Advanced Placement (AP) courses in math, science and English. Based on College Board data, the first-year increase in qualifying math and science exam scores among NMSI partner schools was 76 percent – nearly 10 times the national average. Performance among traditionally underserved students in the NMSI program was equally impressive: The first-year increase in qualifying scores in math and science among African-American and Hispanic students was 93 percent, nearly nine times the national average. For female students, the increase was 79 percent, more than 10 times the national average.

students participating in NMSI program, Ft Worth Texas
Photo — Students in Fort Worth, Texas, participating in NMSI’s College Readiness Program.

Another key NMSI program, UTeach, encourages undergraduate math and science majors to enter the teaching profession by offering an integrated-degree plan, financial assistance and early teaching experience. As of spring 2014, more than 2,100 students have graduated from UTeach programs at 39 universities in 19 states.

In partnership with professional golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, we also support teachers through the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. Since its inception 11 years ago, more than 4,500 elementary school teachers have been trained at the Academy in innovative teaching methods and hands-on applications of math and science, impacting the lives of more than 300,000 students nationwide.

Since 2006, we have partnered with former astronaut Bernard Harris to increase diversity in STEM fields. Through the Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, we have helped more than 8,700 middle-school students from underrepresented and underserved populations attend these all-expense-paid residential camps to improve student knowledge of STEM subjects, encourage youth to stay in school, and foster leadership and citizenship.

Common Core State Standards

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to improve students’ chances of success in college and their careers. ExxonMobil is actively voicing its support for the adoption and full implementation of the CCSS and their related assessments. The states developed the Standards in a process initiated and led by the nation’s governors, state school superintendents, local educators, parents and business leaders. We are supporting states as they work to implement the Standards in their schools and are encouraging business leaders to advocate for improved educational outcomes for our students.