Notes from the Ridge

Are Female Students and Minorities Excelling in Science and Tech Ed?
September 15, 2007, 6:58 pm
Filed under: technology education,TSA

First, thanks to Miguel Guhlin for keying me in on Edutopia. I’m sure others have mentioned the site to me, but I came to it via Miguel’s article on its list of 10 edublogs Edutopia loves. I submitted Edutopia’s RSS feed info to my Google Read and was immediately Presented with a post containing a poll asking the following:

Are female students excelling in science, technology, engineering, and math?

Leading off the post, author Sara Bernard states that:

“The goal of achieving gender balance in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields still holds — and, thanks, to a surfeit of programs for girls such as IBM’s Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering (EXITE) or TechBridge, in Oakland, California, many people say that the gap is closing. Others argue, however, that a large gap still exists, often due to persistent stereotypes and biases that keep girls from having positive educational experiences that inspire an interest in STEM. Do you see many female students excelling in and pursuing these subjects, or does more need to be done to encourage them? Tell us what you think.”

Boone TSA Girls Garner 1st Place at 2007 State Contest!This question really resonated with me as a Middle School Technology Education Teacher. When I started as the advisor for Boone’s TSA Chapter, I made a decision to recruit a student membership that was truly reflective of the school’s population. At present, we’re at a population of approximately 70% Latino, 25% Black (including Jamaican and Haitian Creole students), and 5% White/Other. I also made the decision to push female involvement – specifically among our minority students. This last decision was based more on a gut feeling I had after teaching Math at Boone for two years – noticing that many of our minority students were living in environments that promoted – whether for reasons cultural or other – domestic skill development in lieu of career and technical skill enhancement.

The first year our TSA club produced two Latinas who earned 1st place in the state of Florida for their respective events, with one other finishing in the top 10. One of these girls continued on to place in the top 10 nationally. Last year, these students each placed 1st in their events at State, and all made the top 10 at our national conference.

We just had our first TSA meeting of the year, and 11 out of 16 students in attendance were females. These girls are smart, eager, and are all very interested in securing officer positions for our chapter. I have high hopes for a great year for Boone TSA, and I believe these young ladies – many who are in either 6th or 7th grade – will play a large role in our success.

Is your school taking steps to encourage more female and minority interest in science and technology? Perhaps you have an exciting and inspirational story to share! :)
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