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United States Declining in Science and Patents: How Girls Can Help Level the Playing Field

Recently, online viagra American policy analysts have voiced their concern about the “declining US share in world patenting and scientific publishing” (Hunt, 2010).  One of the significant reasons behind this trend is that female students in this country are not being encouraged—as they are abroad—to pursue career paths in science, technology, engineering, or math.


Finland, for example, has scored very high in Science and Math on the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), which scores and ranks all participating countries in a variety of academic areas. In Finnish schools, science classes are capped at only 16 students so that lab work can be done in each session. Other differences include higher teacher pay, longer recess sessions, and minimized testing, particularly standardized tests. In contrast, American teachers are generally paid less than people with similar education levels in other types of work; students are permitted short recess sessions; and our focus is squarely placed on standardized testing from elementary school to high school graduation. Perhaps if our girls were given more exposure to the application of science rather than the assessment of science we would see more of them going into science and math studies and careers.


Furthermore, in 1996, the Finnish Ministry of Education launched a program called LUMA. It aims not only to increase the achievements of all students but also to raise interest levels in math and science among girls. It accomplishes this through collaboration at all levels of education and between math and science educators in particular; in-depth and hands-on studies in classrooms; and a heavier emphasis on these subject areas. This is evidenced by an increasing number of Finnish girls electing to take more advanced math and science courses as their education continues.


If we want to attract the best and brightest minds into the fields that will move us forward, we can no longer look to only half of the population. We need to take a look at our education in the areas of math and science from the primary school level on up and ensure that we are implementing effective teaching that is inclusive and encouraging to girls.


If you are a female student, share your thoughts on your education thus far in math and science. What does your school do to include and encourage your learning in these fields? Do you have any ideas of ways they can get girls excited about these subjects? Share your ideas in the comments section below.


Karen Purcell

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