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The Scandal of K-12 Education

The Wall Street Journal – Juan Williams

“As America’s K-12 students enjoy the first weeks of summer vacation, there is good news about minority education in the U.S. The percentage of black and Hispanic high-school graduates heading off to college is going up. And black and Hispanic dropout rates are going down. According to the research organization Child Trends, between 1972 and 2014 the Hispanic dropout rate fell to 11% from 34%; the black dropout rate decreased to 7% from 21%. But these encouraging statistics mask some uglier truths about the state of minority education. While 40% of white Americans age 25-29 held bachelor’s degrees in 2013, that distinction belonged to only 15% of Hispanics, and 20% of blacks. Another discouraging sign: The Atlantic magazine recently reported that the share of black undergraduates at top-ranked universities has stagnated at about 6% for the past 20 years. More minority students are graduating from high school, but they are often going off to community colleges, most commonly two-year schools, and not earning a four-year degree.”(more)

How One Museum Is Inspiring Young Girls to Pursue STEM

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“It’s been a U.S. focus over the past decade and increasingly so in the past few years to encourage young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There’s just one problem. Despite the coordinated efforts, women and minorities are consistently left behind. STEM-related employment and education activity continues to increase year over year, but degrees and jobs are primarily dominated by white and Asian males…advocates have been narrowing their focus to narrow the gender gap. Their goal? Figure out how to make STEM fields more attractive to women by chipping away at layers of cultural norms that do the opposite. Such an example is the Women in Science Initiative run by the Connecticut Science Center.”(more)

Op-Ed: Underrepresented Groups Need Hand Up, Not Handout, in STEM Education

The U.S. News and World Report – Vince Bertram

“About 100 middle-school boys in the nation’s capital are set to take part in a new technology-education program in late June that will teach them, among other things, 3-D modeling and app development. In so doing, the black and Hispanic youths chosen for the Verizon Minority Male Makers Program will be exposed to future career opportunities in the technology sector, a field where minorities have traditionally been underrepresented.”(more)

Promising practices: Creating a STEM workforce for all

SmartBlog on Education – Melissa Greenwood

“The future is bright for careers in science, technology, engineering and math…Research shows STEM will continue permeating many areas of the future world of work, and we hope the culture is one in which individuals — regardless of socioeconomics, gender, skin color or disability — have equal opportunities for success. But there are roadblocks to participation for some groups…SmartBrief Education gathered a group of experts for the Equity in STEM: Taking the Challenge to Build an Inclusive Workforce event to discuss ways to remove some of these roadblocks and build inclusive pathways to STEM careers. The panelists highlighted strategies to help bridge the gap among underrepresented populations, including girls and individuals with disabilities…Keep reading for a deep dive into these — and other — ideas that businesses, educators and others can begin using today to help build the inclusive STEM workforce of tomorrow.”(more)

Balloon ‘spacecraft,’ prosthetic limb and subway vacuum wow White House Science Fair

The Washington Post – Moriah Balingit

“Obama hosted his final White House Science Fair on Wednesday, hobnobbing with young brainiacs and speaking of how their fearlessness and courage in attacking problems as diverse as subway trash and Ebola buoyed his optimism for the future…The science fair is one of the more visible parts of the administration’s broader effort to elevate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the nation’s schools…Jo Handelsman, associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said the administration has worked to increase the recruitment of women and minorities into STEM fields, where they have been historically underrepresented…Handelsman said that if the nation fails to develop experts from traditionally underrepresented groups, there will be a critical shortage of STEM-trained workers.”(more)

How female science, math teachers influence whether young women major in STEM fields

Journalist’s Resource – Kelly Peaton

“Jobs in STEM fields often are high paying and in high demand, which is why government leaders have been pressing colleges and universities to produce more STEM graduates…the reality is that far fewer women and minorities enter careers in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics…A January 2016 study published in Social Problems considers how teacher demographics could influence that effort…The authors state that female math and science teachers may help encourage interest among girls by pushing them to take risks and go against stereotypes and by raising their confidence in their abilities. They note the importance of focusing on students’ high school years to help boost the number of women entering STEM-related fields.”(more)