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RE: Technology, Certification, Skill Sets, and Loo [7:70915] posted 06/19/2003
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> A lot of them aren't guys. They are women. In a lot of
> countries (certainly not all but a lot) there's way less
> prejudice against women being in high-tech. Of more importance,
> there aren't assumptions made in primary (elementary) and
> secondary (high school) that girls are "bad at math." Instead,
> girls are encouraged, with an understanding that they tend to
> be better at many aspects of math.

I was using the term 'guys' in the neuter sense of the word. :->

> Why don't you get involved in your local high school? Encourage
> more girls (and boys) to go into computer science. One major
> aspect of the problem that you describe is that fewer and fewer
> Amserican students are studying engineering and computer science.

First off, I am heavily involved in my local schools.  

Second, I think the real issue is, quite frankly, the lack of incentives. 
When was the last time you saw an engineer or a computer guy depicted as
"cool" on TV or in the movies?  Little boys don't grow up dreaming of
becoming engineers, they grow up dreaming up becoming the next Eminem or the
next Kobe Bryant.  Hey, why work hard in school to learn your math and
science when if you can shoot hoops really well, you might get a $75 million
shoe contract while you're only 18 years old (and just for endorsing shoes,
I'm not even talking about getting paid for actually playing basketball),
just like LeBron James? Same is true for little girls - again, what's the
point of  school when you could become the next Britney or the next
Christina Aguilera?  Put another way, kids make the calculation that they
could either work hard through high school and college and get a steady
middle-class income or they could take the shot of becoming a
multimillionaire while they're still young.  Is it surprising that many of
them are lured by the siren song of the cool glamour and instant riches?

Even those kids who are wiser and more realistically goal-oriented still do
not choose CS or engineering for eminently defensible reasons.  I remember
back to my graduating college class - how many of the hungriest and most
dynamic people chose engineering or CS?  Not that many.  The majority chose
to enter fields like law, investment banking, sales, stockbroking, etc. 
Let's face it, CS and engineering are hard work.  A lot of people think to
themselves - why study my butt off to become an engineer when I can make
double the salary by working on Wall Street?

What I'm saying is that I can understand why American kids don't like CS or
engineering.  Simply put - it's not "cool" and they think they can get more
bang for the buck by going into other fields.  I believe that the US does
not reward its engineers or CS guys sufficiently, relative to the amount of
hard work it takes, instead choosing to reward its pop-culture icons and its
salesmen/bankers/lawyers, and therefore is it any wonder that American kids
don't really want to be the former and instead want to be the latter?

> Part of the problem is the prejudice against females. A bigger
> problem is that our schools suck. The government spends our
> money attacking other cultures instead of developing our own.

I believe that while there may have been prejudice against girls in
math/science in the past, I don't know if this continues to happen.  Or if
there still is, then girls are successfully defeating it, just like
Asian-Americans and Jews continue to fight (and fight successfully) endemic
prejudice within higher-education admissions rounds.  This obviously does
not condone  prejudice of any kind (why can't people be judged fairly, and
whoever wins wins?), but the fact of the matter is that when compared at the
same age, girls tend to be far more mature than boys, and as a result, girls
are beginning to dominate schools academically.  Consider this report from
60 Minutes:

"'s the boys who could use a little help in school, where they're
falling behind their female counterparts.

And if you think it's just boys from the inner cities, think again. It's
happening in all segments of society, in all 50 states. That's why more and
more educators are calling for a new national effort to put boys on an equal
footing with their sisters. Lesley Stahl reports.

At graduation ceremonies last June at Hanover High School in Massachusetts,
it was the ninth year in a row that a girl was on the podium as school
valedictorian. Girls also took home nearly all the honors, including the
science prize, says principal Peter Badalament.

?[Girls] tend to dominate the landscape academically right now,? he says,
even in math and science.

The school's advanced placement classes, which admit only the most qualified
students, are often 70 percent to 80 percent girls. This includes calculus.
And in AP biology, there was not a single boy.

According to Badalment, three out of four of the class leadership positions,
including the class presidents, are girls. In the National Honor Society,
almost all of the officers are girls. The yearbook editor is a girl.

While there are statistically more boy geniuses than girl geniuses, far more
boys than girls are found at the very bottom of the academic ranks. School
districts from Massachusetts to Minnesota to California report that boys are
withdrawing from the life of schools, and girls are taking over.

?Girls outperform boys in elementary school, middle school, high school, and
college, and graduate school,? says Dr. Michael Thompson, a school
psychologist who writes about the academic problems of boys in his book,
"Raising Cain." He says that after decades of special attention, girls are
soaring, while boys are stagnating.

..The picture doesn't get much brighter for young men when they get to
college. Campuses are now nearly 60 percent female, with women earning
170,000 more bachelor degrees each year than men. Women are streaming into
business schools and medical schools, and will be the majority at the
nation's law schools. At some colleges, they're getting so many more
qualified women applicants than men applicants that the schools are doing
something that might shock you.

?To make a class that's 50/50, they're practicing affirmative action on
behalf of boys,? says Thompson. ?Girls are so outperforming boys in school
right now, "

The same trend seems to exist elsewhere.  For example, in Australia: 

"At the senior secondary level in Australia, the average girl is currently
outperforming the average boy..."


"Boys account for almost two-thirds of elementary-school students receiving
special education and are far more prone than girls to behavioural problems,
Statistics Canada reported yesterday.

Provincial education ministers recently flagged the underperformance of boys
as a problem in Canadian schools. This most recent study contributes more
cause for concern."

The UK:

"It has long been known in academic circles that girls often outperform boys
at school. In the past, girls always needed a higher mark than boys in the
11+ to get into Grammar School and nowadays (according to Geoff Hannan - an
expert in the field) - the average boy is 11 months behind the average girl
in oracy, 12 months behind in literacy and 6 months behind in numeracy when
they start secondary school. By the KS3 Tests, girls are frequemtly over a
year ahead in English. Ten per cent more girls consistently score the higher
GCSE grades (A* to C) than boys..."

"Over the past generation in Britain, the academic performance of girls has
changed dramatically; from a situation, 25 - 30 years ago, where boys
outperformed girls in most subjects to one in which girls outperform boys in
virtually every examined subject at all levels of the education system."

"This imbalance in achievement, apparent for years at primary-school and
GCSE level, now seems to have worked its way into higher education as well.
The ratio of female students to males in British universities is fast
approaching three to two."

Hong Kong:

"...Girls in Hong Kong outperform boys in many areas of the curriculum and
are already winning a majority of university places."

The EU:

"Throughout Europe - in primary schools, through secondary education and
right into the universities - girls are outperforming boys. In the European
Union, 20 per cent more women are graduating than men. On leaving school and
university, women's prospects of employment exceed men's. In Germany, for
example, between 1991 and 1995 twice as many men as women lost their jobs.
Women actually gained 210,000 jobs while men lost 400,000...",6761,373196,00.html

The fact that this outperformance has been reported not just in one country
but throughout the world leads me to conclude that girls either are more
mature, harder working, or dare I say it, simply smarter than boys (at the
same age).  Whatever happens to be the case, I say, good for them - if girls
prove themselves to be more competent, then they deserve to dominate.


> Priscilla
> > All you have to
> > do is go
> > any American high school and remark on just how lazy and
> > unmotivated the
> > kids are today. In this new global economy, service-oriented
> > work is
> > going to go to wherever the sharpest, cheapest, and
> > hardest-working
> > minds of the world happen to be.  That's the way free-market
> > capitalism
> > works.
> > 
> > 

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