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Report: STEM Degrees Rise, but Disparities Remain

The U.S. News and World Report – Claire Hansen

“Despite modest gains in degree attainment in science, technology, engineering and math, women and minorities remain grossly underrepresented in the fields, according to a new report out Wednesday. Women are also less likely to enter STEM occupations after earning a STEM degree as are blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, according to the report, which was prepared by the RAND corporation and commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association with over 625 members in the oil and natural gas field. The report analyzes broad STEM degree attainment and employment trends, and pays specific attention those in the the oil and natural gas sector.”(more)

Analysis: Why Are All the Stories About Boys Falling Behind Girls at School Ignoring the Forces Keeping Them There?

The 74 Million – Richard Whitmire

“A recent flurry of articles on boys falling behind in school do a great job laying out the facts — but fall short when it comes to asking the right questions. Take the recent Atlantic piece as an example. Great facts, all accurate: As of 2015, 72.5 percent of females who recently graduated from high school were enrolled in college, versus 65.8 percent of men (compared to 1967 when 57 percent of the males were in college and 47.2 percent of the females.). This is important stuff. Today, at a time when college has become the new high school as many employers demand college degrees for jobs that don’t truly need those skills, there are 2.2 million more women than men in college.”(more)

A Book Club For Boys Who Hate Reading

Education Next – Kathleen Carroll

“One part playdate, one part “Dead Poet’s Society,” and one not-insignificant part dessert, this invitation-only weekly gathering brings together a most unlikely group of members: boys who struggle with reading in school. If you’re an 8-year-old who has decided you hate books, this is the club for you. Why start a club whose members resent the activity at its core? The idea emerged from an experimental approach to reading homework that another parent and I devised at the outset of third grade: a homegrown buddy system. Both of our sons were having trouble mastering the complexities of reading—and amid current, fast-moving standards for the early elementary grades, that meant lots of really boring remedial work. After long days of decoding worksheets and pamphlet-sized readers at school, books were cast under an evil spell, re-imagined not as adventure stories but as torture devices. The idea that reading could be interesting and fun seemed a cruel fiction.”(more)

Parents’ early word choices can widen STEM gender gap

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The gender gap in STEM can start when children are just learning to speak – the words parents choose to describe their child’s world could be the reason boys are outpacing girls, according to a new study. However, girls don’t start out at a disadvantage. Findings show boys are hearing spatial language at higher rates than girls and, by default, using it more as they grow. Early use of spatial language – the words and ways people describe things, people and places – can be a predictor of success in science, technology, engineering and math fields later in life, according to Shannon M. Pruden, Florida International University psychology professor and lead author of the study.”(more)

Quarter of 14-year-old girls ‘have signs of depression’

BBC – Michelle Roberts

“The government-funded study of over 10,000 young people looked at how many experienced the signs of depression not a clinical diagnosis of one. Being from a poorer background or being of mixed or white ethnic background appeared to raise the risk. Surveys with their parents, however, suggested many were not attuned to the true anxieties of their children. Parents often underestimated daughters’ stress and had concerns about sons that the boys themselves did not voice.”(more)

How should we handle boys who can’t read?

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Many people know that girls, on average, are worse at math than boys. But the gender difference is three times greater when it comes to reading. According to international studies, this is where boys struggle. Why? And what can be done about it? For starters, children who struggle most with learning to read could be identified earlier than is currently done. And now, researchers are finding new ways to do this.”(more)