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Are STEM teachers biased toward boys?

At early ages, girls often outperform boys in math and science classes. Later, something changes. By the time they get into high school, girls are less likely than boys to take difficult math courses and less likely, again, to go into careers in science, technology, engineering or medicine. To learn more about this, David Greene spoke with NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Click here to read/listen to this September…

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NSF launches new online STEM education, workforce tracker

It just became a lot easier for educators, students, parents, policymakers and business leaders to learn more about national trends in education and jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The National Science Board (NSB) today released an interactive, online resource featuring new and updated data and graphics about STEM education and workforce in the U.S. and providing facts on topics such as student proficiency, college degrees in STEM…

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Breaking the glass ceiling in math

Photo credit: EPA In 2005, Larry Summers unwittingly brought criticism upon himself by suggesting that the lack of women at the top in STEM fields could be explained by innate (biological) differences in mathematical ability. Although women are gaining ground at the undergraduate and even graduate level in certain STEM fields (e.g., biological sciences–but not in math or engineering), they remain under-represented at the highest levels (e.g., tenured professors). The…

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Science as “the foundation of everything”

Science is the engine of human prosperity. Economists have said that a third to a half of U.S. economic growth has resulted from basic research since World War II. The cars and trains that got us to this building, the smart phones we are all carrying, the energy we are using to run the lights in this chamber, the clothes we are wearing, the food we eat: All of these…

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Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling

Rebekah and Kevin Nelams moved to their modest brick home in this suburb of Baton Rouge seven years ago because it has one of the top-performing public school districts in the state. But starting this fall, Ms. Nelams plans to home-school the couple’s four elementary-age children. The main reason: the methods that are being used for teaching math under the Common Core, a set of academic standards adopted by more…

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Driving STEM: The exploding demand for computer science education

The chart above tells quite a story. That blue line — the one that looks like a hockey stick — shows how interest in computer science from freshmen at the University of Washington in Seattle has skyrocketed since 2010 compared with other engineering fields. The UW is not alone. Countless other U.S. universities, from Harvard to Stanford to the University of Michigan, are seeing similar demand for computer science degrees.…

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Is it anti-intellectual to require “practicality” in STEM ed?

For better or worse, I spend a fair amount of time hanging out with graduate students in STEM fields, many from elite schools. All the worst things you might suspect about them are (at least partially) true: They’re neurotic, privileged, insecure, and narrowly focused on their academic lives. At the same time, though, the best things you might think about them are also generally true: They’re hardworking, intelligent, and passionate.…

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Code.org to help 2 million students learn to program

Apparently Code.org’s successful “Hour of Code” event in December was just a warm-up act. The Seattle-based nonprofit on Thursday is announcing the rollout of its computer-science education programs at 30 school districts around the country. Altogether they’ll reach more than 2 million students – nearly 5  percent of all K-12 students in the country — starting this fall. Code.org will provide curriculum and professional development and mentor teachers. Participating districts …

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