Talking Points

To build support for afterschool and summer STEM, you’ve got to answer the public’s big questions about social issues: Why does it matter? How does it work? If it’s not working, why not? And what can we do about it?

In answering those questions, we use a mix of tested framing strategies that include: values to help establish why an issue matters and what is at stake; metaphors to make concepts easier to understand by comparing it to something concrete and familiar; and explanatory examples that allow for concrete understanding.

Think of these talking points as a set of go-to topic sentences, which you can expand upon for specific communications formats and audiences. Copy them word-for-word or adapt them, but when adapting, take care to maintain core elements in each.

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Why does it matter?

Science, technology, engineering, and math — the subjects collectively known as STEM — power our economy and advance our society. Today’s students are our future leaders and we need to ensure that they have the skills required to tackle the problems of tomorrow.

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How does it work?

Learning STEM subjects is like learning a new language: to become fluent, children need hands-on opportunities to practice what they learn. Afterschool and summer programs offer more time for youth to be immersed in STEM and teach them skills they will use their whole lives.

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Why isn't it working?

We aren’t taking an immersion approach. Further, STEM learning opportunities are like charging stations, and all children need access so they can plug in and power up their STEM skills. Some communities don’t have these resources — there’s a lack of fairness between places.

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What can we do?

Afterschool and summer programs spark learning and ignite interest by letting youth experiment with STEM ideas in real-world situations. By implementing [insert your policy solution] or supporting [insert your program initiative], we can ensure that all children, no matter where they live, can access afterschool and summer STEM.

No matter your communications medium, data should be used to enhance and support an overall explanatory approach. It can be overwhelming to find the most compelling and current research and evaluation data to use in communications. And there are always new studies being published! Please reach out to for the most recent data to support your message.

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