Mary Thompson-Closing Statement

Date: Mon Dec 06 1999 - 16:21:57 EST

The issues around women in science are not finished today. The questions an
ideas brought out as a result of this dialogue will continue to be addressed and
discussed through the EdEquity news group. It has been a privilege to be a part
of this formalized dialogue.

There are two last comments I would like to make.
First: I believe that good gender-balanced science and math materials need
to be utilized as an on-going part of a school's curriculum (not relegated
to afterschool volunteer activities). These materials should be paid for
through the school budget, not through the stipend given some teachers for
supplemental materials, or (as in most cases) from the teachers personal
money (not to be reimbursed).

Who makes decisions about the curricula and course materials being used in
the public and private schools? Who decides on the "approved" texts? How can
smaller publishers get their materials in front of the "approval committees" to
even be considered? Many small publishers dealing with issues such as including
women within science have become non-profits or educational foundations in order
to supplement -- through grants and other contributions -- the development,
publishing, and distribution of gender-balanced materials and teaching methods .

The major educational publishers pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into
the packaging of educational materials in order to make a profit for their
companies. Small publishing companies have difficulties completing against
these incredible displays of texts and multimedia enrichment activities --
even when offered an invitation to present to the curriculum approval

Innovative science and math grant-driven programs will start being
implemented throughout the nation when they are packaged by, marketed by,
and promoted by the major educational for-profit publishers.

Second: I believe that science and mathematics should not be considered as a
choice after the sophomore year. These subjects should be viewed as a
national literacy goal (literacy in math and science) and should be required
throughout high school -- at least in the United States. Whether a student
chooses to become a scientist is a moot point. Students with math and science
literacy will be better prepared for success in all fields.

To all those who have participated in this forum -- thank you for caring.
Mary Thompson --

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