Because 65 percent of the occupations that today’s first-graders will ultimately fill do not yet exist, it’s hard to imagine what exactly those jobs will entail. However, it’s not too much of a stretch to say they will require a background — or at least a proficiency — in one of the STEM areas. This is why we believe it’s vital for students in nonpublic schools to have access to the same quality of STEM education as their peers in public school.

The challenge is that good STEM teachers are hard to find and the competition to hire them is fierce. This is why Teach Coalition is advocating for government funds to help nonpublic schools hire qualified STEM teachers in the states where we work. In New York, for example, a new program REIMBURSES nonpublic schools for STEM teachers with a year-one budget of $5 million. Qualifying schools received as much as $120,000 each in reimbursements. With the budget that tripled to $15 million in 2018 year and further doubled to $30 million this, school allocations will rise accordingly.

Events like last week’s tournament at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) illustrate the talent-level and enthusiasm for STEM in the Jewish day school community. Sponsored by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education, the tournament brought together from teams of middle and high school students from more than 20 Jewish day schools, who built from scratch and coded more than 50 robots according to the VEX curriculum — a global robotics gold-standard for educational training and products.