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The momentum for improving U.S. STEM capabilities is building, with opinion leaders and editorial boards opining in support of reform and newsrooms writing about it across the country.

February 03, 2017 — CBS News  — “Think big, start early: New effort to close gender gap in science starts in preschool”
After a brief stint in early childhood education, [Phaedra] Brown founded the Hope Institute of Science for Girls in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s a “brick and mortar” solution to engaging preschool girls in science, technology, engineering and math topics — commonly known as STEM — at the very beginning of their educational journeys, she said … Despite its imposing name, the Hope Institute of Science for Girls is small and focused, with only nine students total, ages 1 to 4. There, Brown’s lessons are designed to expose toddler girls to STEM in subtle, age-appropriate ways … By starting young, the Hope Institute might be on to something significant.

January 24, 2017 — USA Today  — “The best of the best U.S. jobs are tech, tech and tech, again”
Hey kids, want to grow up to land the best job in the country? Then keep poring over those math and science textbooks. Jobs that require a range of STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math) claimed 14 spots in Glassdoor's new "50 Best Jobs in America" survey, out Monday … The proliferation of technology-related jobs is due to those skills now being needed at businesses that don't consider themselves traditional tech companies, says Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor … These days, almost every company is in some way a tech company, requiring workers who are able to create and maintain a firm's technological infrastructure.

January 18, 2017 — Phys.org  — “Talking to children about STEM fields boosts test scores and career interest”
A new study finds parents who talk with their high schoolers about the relevance of science and math can increase competency and career interest in the fields. The findings, published Jan. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show a 12 percentage point increase on the math and science ACT for students whose parents were provided with information on how to effectively convey the importance of science, technology, engineering and math. The same students also are likely to be more interested in pursuing STEM careers, including taking STEM classes in college and having a favorable impression of the fields.

January 09, 2017 — Education World  — “STEM Education Gets Help from Hollywood with "Hidden Figures"”
The release of the movie "Hidden Figures," is being lauded not only as a great movie to watch during downtime, but also as an important film that has the unique potential to encourage underrepresented student involvement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). For those unfamiliar, "Hidden Figures" is a biographical film that focuses on the African American women who worked in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center and their work … Educators have taken note of the movie's potential to inspire students—especially students who are typically underrepresented in STEM fields.

December 19, 2016 — THE Journal  — “Report Urges States to Take Action on Computer Science Education”
A new report out from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) recommends actions for states and schools to help more young people — especially girls, black and Hispanic students, and students from low-income families — learn computer science (CS) and explore and choose careers in computing fields … "Bridging the Computer Science Education Gap: Five Actions States Can Take," published by the board's Commission on Computer Science and Information Technology, offers five broad steps states can take to encourage all young people — not just those interested in STEM — to learn CS and computational thinking skills.

December 12, 2016 — Forbes  — “Deanne Bell's Future Engineers Program Connects Students With NASA And STEM”
Deanne Bell is a mechanical engineer and a television host. She’s also the founder and CEO of Future Engineers, an internet-based education program that invites students to discover the pleasures of designing things that people can use and enjoy. Future Engineers is a very well-designed pathway into STEM for students in grades K through 12 … Students of all ages might find they really like engineering but “Class, today we’re going learn about what an engineer does. Turn to page 263,” probably isn’t going to do the job. The fun lies in doing it and the trick lies in getting students to give it a try. With these thoughts in mind, Bell founded Future Engineers in 2014 as an education program dedicated to introducing students to STEM-related fields through projects that involve designing useful objects and tools.

December 07, 2016 — The Atlantic  — “How Do American Students Compare to Their International Peers?”
U.S. students are stagnating in reading and science proficiency while their math performance declined slightly, based on new results from an international assessment, cueing the usual spate of alarmed headlines, as well as no shortage of opportunities to misapply the data. On the Program for International School Assessment (PISA), U.S. scores in reading and science were about the same as three years ago, leaving Americans near the middle of the pack. Results were lower in math in 2015 compared with 2012, placing the U.S. near the bottom of 35 industrialized nations. Singapore was the top performer in all three subject areas. Fifteen-year-old students in more than 70 countries and education systems were tested on their critical-thinking skills and problem-solving capabilities as well as their proficiency in core subjects. While PISA has its limitations (and critics), it’s one of the few means of comparing U.S. student achievement to their global peers.

December 05, 2016 — GeekWire  — “Code.org teams with star athletes like Kobe, Neymar and Serena Williams to promote computer science education”
Some of the world’s most famous sports stars are putting their support behind computer science education. Top athletes like Kobe Bryant, Neymar Jr., Serena Williams, and a handful of others appear in a new video for Code.org, which is helping put on the annual “Hour of Code” campaign this week. They encourage students to study computer science and provide some positive reinforcement about the learning process. Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi told GeekWire that the athletes are role models for students around the world. “The reason all these athletes are supporting the campaign is because they recognize that computer science and coding are foundational for a well-rounded education,” he said.

December 05, 2016 — TechRepublic  — “100 million students worldwide will learn to code this week for Hour of Code”
Monday kicks off Computer Science Education Week, with students in every country around the globe participating in Hour of Code, a one-hour introduction to computer science designed to demystify coding for students and encourage them to pursue technology careers.The Hour of Code campaign was started by Code.org in 2013. Today, over 100 million students participate—one out of every 10 students on the planet, according to Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org. The initiative has also inspired some 400,000 classrooms to begin teaching computer science classes, and hundreds of school districts have made commitment to add it to the curriculum, Partovi said.

November 23, 2016 — U.S. News & World Report  — “Study: Inclusive Environment Key to Closing STEM Gap”
In order to tighten the gender gap in certain male-dominated science, technology, engineering and math fields, educators must develop a more inviting culture, according to a study published in the October issue of Psychological Bulletin. The study, "Why Are Some STEM Fields More Gender Balanced Than Others?" draws on previous works on STEM gender gaps to account for the specific gap in computer science, engineering and physics fields. The study's authors, University of Washington's Sapna Cheryan, Lily Jiang and Sianna Ziegler and Ohio State's Amanda Montoya, knew that more boys preferred these fields than girls, but wanted to understand why.

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