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House hearings on Business and Education STEM Partnerships

July 28, 2008

This AIP link describes testimony give before the House Committee on Education and Labor on making math and science priorities in US schools.  Notable testimony was given by Sally Ride on continuing issues of encouraging female students to pursue math and science:


Quoting from the bulletin:

‘Ride focused her comments on the importance of encouraging women to pursue STEM careers.  Quoting Carl Sagan, Ride said, “It is suicidal to create a society that depends on science and technology in which no one knows anything about science and technology.”  Ride followed up by saying that, “it’s really ironic that our society that relies so much on science and technology… now puts so little value or emphasis on science education.”  Ride commented that “it is critical to create a scientifically literate citizenry,” because “to be a responsible citizen, to be able to vote intelligently… the kids of today are going to need a good background in science and math.” 

On the subject of women in the sciences, Ride said, “the number of women are still lagging behind the number of men, particularly in physics, which is my field, and engineering.”  Ride noted that statistics indicate elementary school students are very interested in science, but female students somewhat less so.  Explaining the importance of these figures, Ride said, “In fourth grade fully two-thirds of our kids still like science, the schools haven’t beaten it out of them yet.”  She continued, “starting at about fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, we start to loose both the boys and the girls, but we loose girls at greater numbers than boys.”  Ride suggested that the reason girls lose interest in science is because of the messages society sends to girls that they internalize and feel discouraged by.’

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