Around the World, Girls Still Face Challenges in STEM Education

AS THE SEVENTH International Day of the Girl is observed on Thursday, experts remind the public that providing a complete education for girls and women worldwide remains a challenge. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, girls are still more likely than boys to never enter into a school system, yet countries are committed to closing the gender gap by 2030 and also achieve universal completion of secondary education.

According to a February UNESCO report, “Historically, girls and young women were more likely to be excluded from education.”

“However globally, the male and female out-of-school rates for the lower secondary and upper secondary school-age populations are now nearly identical, while the gender gap among children of primary school age dropped from more than five percentage points in 2000 to two percentage points in 2016,” the report adds.

Full story at US News

Secretary DeVos Accepts President Trump’s Q2 Salary as a Donation for STEM-Focused Camp

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump donated his second quarter salary to the Department of Education to help fund a STEM-focused camp for students. The donation, totaling $100,000, was accepted by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the daily White House Press briefing where she delivered the following remarks:

“I want to start by saying how grateful I am to the President for this generous gift. The President has truly shown his commitment to our nation’s students and to reforming education in America so that every child, no matter their ZIP code, has access to a high quality education.

Full story at ed.gov

California programs to entice would-be teachers to the classroom

If you have any desire to be a math or science teacher in California, there is no shortage of programs to help you achieve that goal.

In an effort to lure more people to the profession, the California Department of Education, California State University, the University of California and nonprofits such as 100Kin10 have all created programs to entice college students and mid-career professionals – especially those in the math and science fields – to become teachers.

100kin10 has a web site, “Blow Minds: Teach STEM,” that connects undergraduates with teacher preparation programs in the so-called STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. And college campuses are plastered with “Teach Math!” and “Teach Science!” posters aimed not just at those majoring in math and science, but students interested in social justice as well.

Full story of attracting teachers to the classroom at edsource.org

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance for Schools on Leveraging Federal Funding to Support STEM Education

The U.S. Department of Education today issued a Dear Colleague Letter to states, school districts, schools and education partners on how to maximize federal funds to support and enhance innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for all students.

The letter serves as a resource for decreasing the equity and opportunity gaps for historically underserved students in STEM and gives examples of how federal funds—through formula grant programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act—can support efforts to improve instruction and student outcomes in STEM fields.

“Too often many of our students, especially those who are most vulnerable, do not have equitable access to high-quality STEM and computer science opportunities, which are part of a well-rounded education and can change the course of a child’s life,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “We are committed to ensuring that all students have the same opportunities to access a rigorous and challenging education. This letter will help states and their school districts use their federal funds to close opportunity gaps and improve educational outcomes for all students.”

Full story of leveraging federal funding to support STEM education at ed.gov

Could It Be? Researchers Find A Hiring Bias That Favors Women

Think, for just a moment, about the last job you applied for.

If you didn’t get the job (apologies), did you get an interview? If not, did you feel some hidden forces, beyond your control, working against you?

Perceived hiring biases against women working in science, technology, engineering and math have been around as long as women have been graduating from STEM programs. From 2008 to 2010, women received the majority of doctorate degrees in life and social sciences but only 32 percent of the open assistant professorships.

Now comes a study that offers something of a counter-narrative — that, given the chance, universities would rather hire women for STEM tenure-track positions.

Full story of a hiring bias that favors women at NPR

Federal Agencies Collaborate to Improve After-School Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

The U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is leading new interagency partnerships to bring hands-on STEM learning opportunities to high-need students during after-school and out-of-school time. Through this collaboration, the Department will expand an existing pilot program with NASA and build new partnerships with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

These partnerships will create opportunities for students to engage in solving real-world STEM challenges with scientists and experts in their field. Overall, the number of participating 21st CCLC sites will increase from approximately 20 last year to over 100. Participating states include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Full story of agencies to improve after-school education at ed.gov

One District’s Quest to Transform Learning through Technology

What does it mean to be a “Future Ready” school district?

More than 160 teachers, parents, students, and business and district leaders from across Tennessee recently gathered at the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools’ Martin Center to discuss the answer to this question and talk about the upcoming Future Ready District Pledge.

The Pledge establishes a framework for districts to achieve the goals laid out by the White House ConnectED Initiative. Some of these goals include: upgrading high-speed Internet connectivity, providing access to educational devices and digital content, and preparing teachers to use technology effectively to improve student learning and their own professional development.

Full story of learning through technology at ed.gov

24 New Teacher Quality Partnership Grants Totaling More Than $35 Million Awarded to Recruit, Train and Support More Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Teachers

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the award of $35 million for 24 new partnerships between universities and high-need school districts that will recruit, train and support more than 11,000 teachers over the next five years—primarily in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields—to improve student achievement. These awards are the culmination of this year’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant competition that President Obama announced in May at the White House Science Fair.

For the first time, this year’s TQP competition focuses on preparing STEM teachers, and increasing the participation of underrepresented groups—women, minorities and people with disabilities—in teaching STEM subjects. The 2014 TQP grantees will train teachers in a wide variety of approaches to STEM instruction, from early learning through high school levels. This advances on the goal that President Obama set in his 2011 State of the Union address to prepare 100,000 STEM teachers over the next decade with strong teaching skills and deep content knowledge. In addition, answering the President’s call to action, nearly 200 organizations have formed a coalition called 100Kin10, all committed to the goal of increasing the supply of excellent STEM teachers.

Full story of teacher quality grants at ed.gov

Building on Progress: Closing the Gender Gap and Expanding Women’s Access to Non-Traditional Occupations

Fifty years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women in the United States still earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. The pay gap for women of color is even greater. One of the primary reasons for this persistent gap is the concentration of women in comparatively lower-paying and non-supervisory professions – well over half of all women continue to be employed in lower-paying sales, service, and administrative support positions. President Obama’s Equal Pay Task Force sees this issue as one of the greatest barriers to pay equality and is working with the Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) to expand women’s access to non-traditional occupations.

ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) is commissioning a study that will examine gender equity in secondary career and technical education. Specifically, it will look at whether girls and young women in high school have access to high-quality programs that prepare them for careers in non-traditional occupations – for example, law enforcement, construction, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. Similarly, DOL has commissioned several studies that identify barriers women face in accessing these occupations, as well as successful evidence-based strategies to increase employment opportunities in these professions.

Full story of expansion of women’s occupations at ed.gov

Education Diplomacy: Developing Deep and Lasting Personal Relationships

Flags representing students from around the world blew gracefully in the breeze last weekend as I joined thousands to celebrate the graduation of the class of 2014 at Brown University. The image was a beautiful reminder of how much we gain from getting to know people from different countries, cultures and perspectives, and how important it is that we build deep personal relationships and connections that can bridge these differences.

Also last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s International Affairs Office hosted a policy seminar on the importance of education diplomacy, with a particular focus on the role of study abroad. We heard from an undergraduate student, a STEM teacher, an academic mobility researcher, and a university vice president. They were all passionate about their overseas experiences and the importance of broadening the availability of study abroad, to make it the norm rather than the exception.

Full story of education diplomacy at ed.gov