Partnering Through Science: Developing Linguistic Insight to Address Educational Inequality for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in U.S. STEM Education



Linguists must build and strengthen research partnerships with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators to further investigate linguistic and cultural diversity and academic inequality in STEM education in the U.S. We review key issues and themes from literature on the role of language in U.S. STEM education and the linguistic and ideological roots of barriers to STEM achievement for culturally and linguistically diverse students. We assess ways that linguists have engaged with educators and teachers, learning from humanities- and social science-based partnerships and adapting them to STEM contexts. We then examine specific and significant challenges that culturally and linguistically diverse student populations in STEM areas often face, with a focus on structural, sociocultural, and ideological barriers. Finally, we advocate for forging partnerships with STEM educators that establish a well-defined rationale for collaboration across linguistics and STEM, yielding basic and applied research benefits.