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Old 06-21-2022, 06:51 PM
 
10,478 posts, read 6,669,455 times
Reputation: 29128

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I was asked to comment on this post in a previous thread that has been closed for other reasons. Hopefully I can make this readable here and give proper credit.
Blue = my original thoughts
Black = MITSGuy2001 Comments
Red = my response to those comments


Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Still working off my phone so this won't have a clean format.

Combining your last point with your first, I agree that our schools do a terrible job of science and math education and the question is what to do about it. Part of this relates to one of your other points, that many of your science teachers were not really qualified or even gave a damn about science. One, of several things we can do is recruit STEM graduates to teach. Which means paying them to market. Something educators are loath to do.


Where I live, teachers make more money than most people with STEM jobs, especially when you take into account their pension and their retiree health insurance.

I believe you live in a location with a very unique set of circumstances. Most parts of the country teachers aren't paid that way. Now I'm not arguing whether they are under paid or not. Rather my comment is that, in general, if we want to recruit top talent that would otherwise go into STEM fields to teach STEM subjects, we need to pay them competitive with what they can make on the market in their area.

Quote:
Our experiences were different. Yours seems pretty unique. I would say from my experience, the blatant favoring of girls in general was mostly elementary. Favoring girls in terms of grades and discipline however is not the same as encouraging them to study science.

That is a good point. Favoring certain girls in grading and discipline may encourage them to take STEM classes in school, but it doesn’t necessarily encourage them to pursue a STEM career. Especially when they encounter that one teacher or professor who has a punitive grading system for both genders, and she crashes and burns. Especially since her knowledge is not what her grades suggest it should be.

I don't think favoring girls or boys would encourage them to take STEM classes. Rather encouraging and chellenging them to do so by interesting lessons and showing the relation between school and what they can do. Regarding that one teacher or professor, I think that's something schools don't do a good job of preparing students for, esp higher performing students. For many students in high school, getting an A comes easily to them. Then suddenly they get to college and get hit with a class where the class average is 35. Where they get one question on an exam right. That is a massive slap to the ego and we don't teach kids to be prepared for it. It's actually a topic our local engineering society has tried to hold seminars on for graduating high school seniors heading toward college for a STEM degree -- to try to set the stage for what they will experience and how to survive in that environment. We do this to try to mitigate the number of students who drop out or change majors when college slaps them in the face with difficulty.

Quote:
At the same time I found most teachers, including science teachers to dislike as you say the stereotypical science nerd. Observed that even in elementary. As I pointed, perhaps not clearly is most science teachers do not consider themselves scientists who teach but teachers who teach science class. They are not science fans, but took the easiest science path they could. It's no wonder they subtly discourage science as a career snicr they themselves dont really love science and math.
That is definitely true. I saw an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson (and, of all people, Katy Perry) where he said that what he enjoys the most about being a scientist is not knowing all the answers. But teachers (science and otherwise) are not comfortable not knowing all of the answers. That is likely why I tended to clash with science teachers.

I observed this as well. It's a simple statement of fact that I knew more science than my science teachers from 4th grade onward, except for my high school bio teacher who actually had a biology degree. Interestingly I liked him and got along well with him since he appreciated my interest in science. But the others (who were science teachers, but not science degreed) clashed often. It was very difficult to sit on class and listen to them spew stuff that was factually wrong but to speak up risked their wrath.

Here is another theory that I just thought of: perhaps my school district tended to have male science teachers coach girls sports as a way to encourage girls to take science classes. But, if that was the intent, it very seriously backfired, since these teachers had no real interest in encouraging anybody of either gender to take science, and their real interest was coaching girls sports, not science. Again, some female athletes may have taken science classes with their coach in order to cash in their easy A, and to spend the class time talking about things non-science related (while I would get in trouble for asking actual science related questions), but they had no interest in a science career, they were given no encouragement to go into a science career, and, even if they did, they would just crash and burn the first time they encountered a punitive grading system, they would change their major to education, and the cycle would repeat.


This is just an observation from where I went and where my kids went to school. I don't know that it hold everywhere. My observation isn't that male science teachers coached girls sports, but rather they were hired as coaches first and foremost and then got stuck with science because none of the other teachers wanted to touch science with a 10 meter pole. Getting stuck teaching science was the price they paid to be allowed to coach. They couldn't have given 2 cents whether the girls took science or not.

Quote:
Regarding your former classmate, I dont believe there is some conspiracy nor some systemic bias that happens to girls. Rather I believe we do a poor job teaching STEM in general and that impacts girls more in the early grades when they are still plastic.

Again, why does that disproportionately impact girls? And what can be done about it?

Good question and one we're trying to answer. At the risk of sounding sexist, I believe boys' egos tend to externalize failures whereas girls tend to internalize it. IE a boy makes a 50 on science test blames it on the test and digs deeper. A girl faced with the same test blames themself "I can't do science/math/whatever because I'm a girl" and therefor gives up.

Quote:
To your question on fairness to boys with scholarships, there simply wasn't an issue getting and keeping boys in the program.

This is where we don’t agree. I don’t feel that it’s fair that my male colleagues often had to take out crushing student loans and/or work multiple jobs with brutal commutes, while there female classmates could go to school for free.

Based on the limited sample I had, the males weren't burdened with crushing loans etc at any greater rate than the girls. Just haven't seen what you saw.

Quote:
Regarding grading policies, I've always believed many grading policies were harsh, even punitive in nature, for both boys and girls. I'd love to see a cleaner grading structure.

Maybe fixing that can be the first step. But I don’t know how.

Complete agreement here.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:46 AM
 
4,828 posts, read 2,271,183 times
Reputation: 11094
Quote:
Where I live, teachers make more money than most people with STEM jobs, especially when you take into account their pension and their retiree health insurance.
In Westchester County, NY public schools - this is definitely true. However, in Pittsburgh public schools - it's not true. Definitely not true for religious schools anywhere.

There have been stories lately about Rye Country Day school (in Westchester, NY) and its new principal. "Dunn made $750,000 in the 2019-2020 year in Chicago, tax forms show. His salary at Rye will almost certainly be over a million dollars. The school’s current leader, Scott Nelson, made $1.18 million in 2020." https://nypost.com/2022/06/18/mother...hools-parents/

It's like winning the lottery. Salary ranges for teachers and principals are all over the place.

------------------------------------------------

So, as for the girls vs boys in STEM - I have a different idea.

My kids are professionals in very different careers. Their careers are so well suited to their personalities, I could have predicted their paths by second grade. The best STEM teachers in the world couldn't changed it. I think that everyone is born with a strengths and temperament that are suited to their career.

Likewise my mother became a programmer for AT&T in the mid-1970's. I took one programming class and its best outcome was learning I could never go into STEM. My husband is fluent in English, French, Italian and the dialect of Naples. I have no talent for languages. However, I never forget a color. I can see a color and walk into a paint store and pick out a perfect match which is something my husband couldn't ever do.

People are different and it's all based in genes. Men and women really have different genes and temperaments. These factors affect our career choices. All the praise for girls in STEM classes aren't going to change this.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:48 AM
 
6,178 posts, read 6,205,111 times
Reputation: 4019
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I was asked to comment on this post in a previous thread that has been closed for other reasons. Hopefully I can make this readable here and give proper credit.
Blue = my original thoughts
Black = MITSGuy2001 Comments
Red = my response to those comments


Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Still working off my phone so this won't have a clean format.

Combining your last point with your first, I agree that our schools do a terrible job of science and math education and the question is what to do about it. Part of this relates to one of your other points, that many of your science teachers were not really qualified or even gave a damn about science. One, of several things we can do is recruit STEM graduates to teach. Which means paying them to market. Something educators are loath to do.


Where I live, teachers make more money than most people with STEM jobs, especially when you take into account their pension and their retiree health insurance.

I believe you live in a location with a very unique set of circumstances. Most parts of the country teachers aren't paid that way. Now I'm not arguing whether they are under paid or not. Rather my comment is that, in general, if we want to recruit top talent that would otherwise go into STEM fields to teach STEM subjects, we need to pay them competitive with what they can make on the market in their area.
Keep in mind that teachers only work 180 days a year, and they get benefits (tenure, pension, ability to retire at age 55, cheap health insurance for life) that are priceless, which most other professionals don't get, so their base salary should be lower than other professionals. I know they always say that they have to do work outside the classroom and on their days off. But that is true of every professional. Also, my experience clearly showed that paying teachers more didn't attract better talent. If anything, based on the people I know who are current teachers, they took it for the benefits and the full time salary for part time work (their own admission).

Quote:
Quote:
Our experiences were different. Yours seems pretty unique. I would say from my experience, the blatant favoring of girls in general was mostly elementary. Favoring girls in terms of grades and discipline however is not the same as encouraging them to study science.

That is a good point. Favoring certain girls in grading and discipline may encourage them to take STEM classes in school, but it doesn’t necessarily encourage them to pursue a STEM career. Especially when they encounter that one teacher or professor who has a punitive grading system for both genders, and she crashes and burns. Especially since her knowledge is not what her grades suggest it should be.

I don't think favoring girls or boys would encourage them to take STEM classes. Rather encouraging and chellenging them to do so by interesting lessons and showing the relation between school and what they can do. Regarding that one teacher or professor, I think that's something schools don't do a good job of preparing students for, esp higher performing students. For many students in high school, getting an A comes easily to them. Then suddenly they get to college and get hit with a class where the class average is 35. Where they get one question on an exam right. That is a massive slap to the ego and we don't teach kids to be prepared for it. It's actually a topic our local engineering society has tried to hold seminars on for graduating high school seniors heading toward college for a STEM degree -- to try to set the stage for what they will experience and how to survive in that environment. We do this to try to mitigate the number of students who drop out or change majors when college slaps them in the face with difficulty.
Either we need a way to stop that practice, or a way to get girls to accept it more.

Quote:
Quote:
At the same time I found most teachers, including science teachers to dislike as you say the stereotypical science nerd. Observed that even in elementary. As I pointed, perhaps not clearly is most science teachers do not consider themselves scientists who teach but teachers who teach science class. They are not science fans, but took the easiest science path they could. It's no wonder they subtly discourage science as a career snicr they themselves dont really love science and math.
That is definitely true. I saw an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson (and, of all people, Katy Perry) where he said that what he enjoys the most about being a scientist is not knowing all the answers. But teachers (science and otherwise) are not comfortable not knowing all of the answers. That is likely why I tended to clash with science teachers.

I observed this as well. It's a simple statement of fact that I knew more science than my science teachers from 4th grade onward, except for my high school bio teacher who actually had a biology degree. Interestingly I liked him and got along well with him since he appreciated my interest in science. But the others (who were science teachers, but not science degreed) clashed often. It was very difficult to sit on class and listen to them spew stuff that was factually wrong but to speak up risked their wrath.


Same here.

Quote:
Here is another theory that I just thought of: perhaps my school district tended to have male science teachers coach girls sports as a way to encourage girls to take science classes. But, if that was the intent, it very seriously backfired, since these teachers had no real interest in encouraging anybody of either gender to take science, and their real interest was coaching girls sports, not science. Again, some female athletes may have taken science classes with their coach in order to cash in their easy A, and to spend the class time talking about things non-science related (while I would get in trouble for asking actual science related questions), but they had no interest in a science career, they were given no encouragement to go into a science career, and, even if they did, they would just crash and burn the first time they encountered a punitive grading system, they would change their major to education, and the cycle would repeat.
Quote:

This is just an observation from where I went and where my kids went to school. I don't know that it hold everywhere. My observation isn't that male science teachers coached girls sports, but rather they were hired as coaches first and foremost and then got stuck with science because none of the other teachers wanted to touch science with a 10 meter pole. Getting stuck teaching science was the price they paid to be allowed to coach. They couldn't have given 2 cents whether the girls took science or not.
That makes a lot of sense. But I do wonder why it is that my school (and perhaps others?) tend to have male science teachers coaching girls sports rather than boys sports. Plus, coaching takes away time from teaching, since the time that they'd spend coaching is the time that other teachers would spend trading and developing lesson plans. They clearly put their coaching ahead of their teaching. Looking back on it, aside from clashing with science teachers, I clashed with male teachers who coached girls sports. I guess it would be a combination of them tending to favor girls and favor athletes, so I checked neither of their boxes.

Quote:
Quote:
Regarding your former classmate, I dont believe there is some conspiracy nor some systemic bias that happens to girls. Rather I believe we do a poor job teaching STEM in general and that impacts girls more in the early grades when they are still plastic.

Again, why does that disproportionately impact girls? And what can be done about it?

Good question and one we're trying to answer. At the risk of sounding sexist, I believe boys' egos tend to externalize failures whereas girls tend to internalize it. IE a boy makes a 50 on science test blames it on the test and digs deeper. A girl faced with the same test blames themself "I can't do science/math/whatever because I'm a girl" and therefor gives up.
And the question is, what causes that, and what can we do about it?

Quote:
Quote:
To your question on fairness to boys with scholarships, there simply wasn't an issue getting and keeping boys in the program.

This is where we don’t agree. I don’t feel that it’s fair that my male colleagues often had to take out crushing student loans and/or work multiple jobs with brutal commutes, while there female classmates could go to school for free.

Based on the limited sample I had, the males weren't burdened with crushing loans etc at any greater rate than the girls. Just haven't seen what you saw.
To be fair, I don't know whether my male colleagues have student loans or not. But I do know that they had to pay for college out of pocket, and they all commuted from local schools while working jobs. While my female colleagues had their STEM female scholarships and all went away to college and lived on campus and enjoyed life for 4 years. To be fair, I did go away to college and I did live on campus, since I had an academic scholarship, and I was able to enjoy life since I was able to AP out of most weedout classes, so this isn't a case of jealousy. But my track to college (academic scholarship, and AP out of weedout classe) no longer exists.

Quote:
Quote:
Regarding grading policies, I've always believed many grading policies were harsh, even punitive in nature, for both boys and girls. I'd love to see a cleaner grading structure.

Maybe fixing that can be the first step. But I don’t know how.

Complete agreement here.
It would have to involve eliminating or at least weakening tenure, and holding professors accountable for poor grades. Ideally students who don't belong in college wouldn't be in college anymore, so professors won't have that argument. But this does nothing about the opposite problem (which I also experienced), a teacher or professor who teaches nothing but gives everybody an A.
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:07 AM
 
2,227 posts, read 727,891 times
Reputation: 4468
Let's not overthink this. Let's not make a solution more complex than it needs to be.

If the objective is to encourage more girls to to study STEM, all we need to do is pay those girls to study STEM. Pretty quickly, they'd learn they make more money by studying STEM than by babysitting or inquiring about the purchase of fries. Pay them even more to do well in STEM as measured by, well, whatever metric makes sense..
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:24 AM
 
Location: NMB, SC
25,466 posts, read 8,276,177 times
Reputation: 24452
If you do not like Math or Science you will not do well in STEM.

It is as simple as that.
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:35 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
96,621 posts, read 94,459,730 times
Reputation: 106891
Highschool STEM educators can encourage girls all they want, but the parental factor can work against them. There are parents out there, who discourage their math-gifted daughters from going into engineering, say, for incredibly ignorant reasons. The home influence can outweigh anything educators can do in terms of guidance. Though that doesn't mean, that educators shouldn't try to guide talented girls into STEM fields.
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:35 AM
 
9,024 posts, read 4,987,508 times
Reputation: 17628
Quote:
Originally Posted by YorktownGal View Post
In Westchester County, NY public schools - this is definitely true. However, in Pittsburgh public schools - it's not true. Definitely not true for religious schools anywhere.

There have been stories lately about Rye Country Day school (in Westchester, NY) and its new principal. "Dunn made $750,000 in the 2019-2020 year in Chicago, tax forms show. His salary at Rye will almost certainly be over a million dollars. The school’s current leader, Scott Nelson, made $1.18 million in 2020." https://nypost.com/2022/06/18/mother...hools-parents/

It's like winning the lottery. Salary ranges for teachers and principals are all over the place.

------------------------------------------------

So, as for the girls vs boys in STEM - I have a different idea.

My kids are professionals in very different careers. Their careers are so well suited to their personalities, I could have predicted their paths by second grade. The best STEM teachers in the world couldn't changed it. I think that everyone is born with a strengths and temperament that are suited to their career.

Likewise my mother became a programmer for AT&T in the mid-1970's. I took one programming class and its best outcome was learning I could never go into STEM. My husband is fluent in English, French, Italian and the dialect of Naples. I have no talent for languages. However, I never forget a color. I can see a color and walk into a paint store and pick out a perfect match which is something my husband couldn't ever do.

People are different and it's all based in genes. Men and women really have different genes and temperaments. These factors affect our career choices. All the praise for girls in STEM classes aren't going to change this.
I think it’s also important to point out that the issue isn’t that women’t aren’t going into STEM, because they ARE going there in large numbers. They just aren’t spread across all disciplines. If you look at medicine, there are more women in the health-related fields, some to the extreme. I think there are a variety of reasons for this. One is that women do have first-hand exposure to medicine throughout childhood. They may see a provider they particularly like or a provider they dislike because the provider didn’t seem to listen. For example, my grandmother was a GP/anesthesiologist. She ended up stopping work after WW2, but my mom said that even after that her (mostly female) former patients still called and wished she were practicing. I am sure that seeing that there was a need and desire for female providers even at that point encouraged my mom go to go into medicine. In contrast, one of her aunts was a chemist who mainly complained about the horrible treatment she had in the workplace due to being the only woman. She was not inspired to go into chemistry.

I don’t think the need for women in other areas is so apparent. Crash test dummies are all male. Does that make a difference to women? Yes. Injuries that may be worse for women aren’t measured. It’s possible that with more female engineers designing automotive products, this issue would be addressed. I am an average sized women and have definitely been in cars that seem to be designed for the average height male, not an average women or the average sized human. This certainly can make a difference in stuff like seat belt placement, etc. This information isn’t readily available or apparent, particularly for kids choosing careers. Maybe if it was, more women would choose things like engineering.
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:11 PM
 
6,178 posts, read 6,205,111 times
Reputation: 4019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Highschool STEM educators can encourage girls all they want, but the parental factor can work against them. There are parents out there, who discourage their math-gifted daughters from going into engineering, say, for incredibly ignorant reasons. The home influence can outweigh anything educators can do in terms of guidance. Though that doesn't mean, that educators shouldn't try to guide talented girls into STEM fields.
Why are these parents discouraging math-gifted daughters from going into STEM fields?
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
14,934 posts, read 13,905,170 times
Reputation: 27103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitsguy2001 View Post
Keep in mind that teachers only work 180 days a year, and they get benefits (tenure, pension, ability to retire at age 55, cheap health insurance for life) that are priceless, which most other professionals don't get, so their base salary should be lower than other professionals.
This is not true everywhere. School is in session for 180 days where I live. That means that students have to be in classrooms 180 days. The teachers work more days. Many days off are for staff workshops and parent/teacher conferences. Teachers also have to set up their rooms before school starts and pack it up at the end of the year after school ends. They have training the week or 2 before classes begin in September as well. Additionally, they have to earn continuing education credits to maintain their license.

In my state teachers do not receive a pension or health insurance for life. This ended several years ago. Now they're stuck with 401ks just like everyone else. Retiring at 55 also depends if you have enough working years. You can't start teaching at 45 and retire at 55.

It takes several years to earn tenure. They're not given tenure the day they start. They can also be fired once they have tenure. It's more difficult but it happens. Tenure has definitely changed the last 10 or so years here.
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Old 06-22-2022, 02:02 PM
 
6,178 posts, read 6,205,111 times
Reputation: 4019
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss20ts View Post
This is not true everywhere. School is in session for 180 days where I live. That means that students have to be in classrooms 180 days. The teachers work more days. Many days off are for staff workshops and parent/teacher conferences.
At least where I live, those days are counted toward the 180 days.

Quote:
Teachers also have to set up their rooms before school starts and pack it up at the end of the year after school ends. They have training the week or 2 before classes begin in September as well. Additionally, they have to earn continuing education credits to maintain their license.
All professionals have to earn continuing education credits and are not paid for the time. You at least have time off off to get those credits. And all professionals have to sometimes work outside of work hours. Teachers are no different.

Quote:
In my state teachers do not receive a pension or health insurance for life. This ended several years ago. Now they're stuck with 401ks just like everyone else. Retiring at 55 also depends if you have enough working years. You can't start teaching at 45 and retire at 55.
But if you start teaching at 22, you can retire at 55. That is not an option for anybody in the private sector. Even if you lost your pension, you still get cheap health insurance.

Quote:
It takes several years to earn tenure. They're not given tenure the day they start. They can also be fired once they have tenure. It's more difficult but it happens. Tenure has definitely changed the last 10 or so years here.
They can't be fired if the administration won't fire them.
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