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Articles tagged with women

Three numbers that could alter the 2012 elections: 92, 37 and 6

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day, marking the 92nd anniversary of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote.  While much work remained in the 20th century to assure that everyone could exercise their right to vote, the 19th amendment was an important threshold.  It is particularly significant for local school boards, as Kentucky’s 1838 law permitting married women with children to vote in school board elections was the first state suffrage law following the American Revolution. It took the rest of the country more than 80 years to catch up.

Casting a shadow on this celebration, however, is the wave of laws proposed or passed in 37 states to impose stricter requirements for voting – laws that could adversely impact representation in our highest-need communities.  These laws frequently require various forms of identification in order to vote, but other restrictions – such as limiting early voting hours – are other forms of voter suppression.  While safeguards for the integrity of elections are necessary, a nationwide analysis of 2000 alleged voter fraud cases published in the The Washington Post shows that instances of voter impersonation are extremely rare. If extrapolated to the entire eligible population, voter impersonation could be as rare as 1 in 15 million prospective voters.

BoardBuzz thinks school districts can be catalysts for civic education and engagement by students and communities – especially for students who are 18 years old and eligible to vote for the very first time.  This year’s national elections will set the course for the United States for years to come. Redistricting resulting from the 2010 Census means that many Americans will be voting for newly-minted candidates and/or state & national legislative districts.  And only once every twenty years does redistricting coincide with the presidential election, upping the stakes for voters who must also choose who will represent them in the White House.

The most important number for the 2012 elections then? November 6th – Election Day!

Lucy Gettman|August 21st, 2012|Categories: Curriculum, School Boards, Educational Legislation, Diversity, Leadership, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , , , |

Getting to the root of the STEM problem

Most of us would agree that a workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is an important component of 21st century global competitiveness.  But thanks to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, we also know that holding a STEM degree and working in a STEM-related field also significantly narrows the income gap between women and men and increases our nation’s potential for innovation.   So what’s the problem?  Women remain vastly under-represented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders – and this disparity has persisted over time.  One solution?  Count the STEM majors who work in the field of education!

BoardBuzz has learned from “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation” that women in STEM jobs earn about 86 percent of what men earn (compared to 79 percent in non-STEM jobs).  The wage gap is smallest for engineers (7 percent) and largest for those in computer and math jobs (12 percent).  Yet in spite of the financial advantages, women hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs, even though they are almost half (48 percent) of the workforce.  Why is that?

There are several reasons, but BoardBuzz has sussed out that when STEM majors work in education or certain other fields, such as healthcare or social science, they are not counted as “STEM jobs.”  BoardBuzz thinks this practice needs to change.  For one thing, it is critical to have an adequate number state-of-the art STEM instructors in our nation’s schools to support the next generation of innovators.  Further, women STEM educators are important role models for young women and can help shrink the gender gap among STEM majors.  Finally, overlooking traditionally female occupations when defining what constitutes a STEM job becomes its own form of stereotyping.  

So, the path to innovation is clear – educate all our students to be proficient in 21st century skills, and recognize that educators are crucial to their success.  Interested in educator effectiveness? Visit the Center for Public Education “Building a Better Evaluation System” web page.

Lucy Gettman|August 11th, 2011|Categories: Teachers, Center for Public Education, Educational Technology, STEM Education, Mathematics Education, 21st Century Skills, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , |
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