Status Report to Congress
8/24/98 4:50 PM EST

The 105th Congress has asked for a comprehensive report on the status of
education for girls in the United States. As contractor to the Department of
Education creating the report, our goal at the WEEA Equity Resource Center at
EDC is to develop, in collaboration with the National Center for Education
Statistics, a rich, truthful, well-balanced document that can serve as the
benchmark for future education goals for the country. Our tasks are many, and
we need your help.

We must collect and disaggregate accurate statistical data covering areas from
testing to access to higher education. We must look at federal, state and local
legislative efforts for school reform, and determine levels of compliance. We
must examine promising practices from across the country; we must take a close
look at what has worked, what has failed, and what has been left unaddressed.
And we must gather evidence from parents; from teachers; from school
administrators, district administrators, and state administrators; from city,
state and federal officials; and most importantly from girls and boys in the
classroom, from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary school.

Your voice is critical for the Report. We also hope you can gather the voices
of some of the girls, boys, young women, young men, parents, teachers, and
administrators with whom you have worked. We would like to have statements that
cover what each of you thinks are the three most important issues in education
today, and what you feel are the biggest triumphs in equity so far.

There are those in the United States who would have us believe that the job of
creating equity in education is done. They cite the growing numbers of women in
higher education, but fail to look at the high number of Latinas who drop out of
school in their sophomore or junior years of high school; they cite
(inaccurately) a growing sense of privilege in school sports for girls when
Title IX is fairly applied; they claim that girls "just aren't interested" in
math, science and technology, but the girls tell us they are; they claim that
programs that promote gender equity in education are taking something away from
boys, yet they fail to address the fact that boys, especially boys of color, are
removed from mainstream classrooms and placed in special education at an
alarming rate.

The US has made enormous strides in equity over the past 25 years, but we have a
great distance still to travel. With your help, we will create a fair,
well-balanced benchmark that shows that gender equity works for all students.

Because we need to make it clear that the Report is about the experiences of all
students, we're asking a broad group of people and organizations to participate.
We would like each person who answers to give us her or his name, age, gender,
and position (student, teacher, parent, etc.), as well as well as identifiers
she or he would use such as race/ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.
You can send replies by email to <> calling the subject
"voices;" by fax to Paula Fleming at 617-332-4318; or you can mail them to us at
EDC, 55 Chapel St., Newton, MA 02458-1060. Unfortunately, our deadline is very
tight, so please respond as soon as possible.

We count it as a great privilege to be chosen to spearhead this report, and we
look forward with great excitement to your response.


Katherine Hanson

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