One key challenge educators face is importance of encouraging girls to excel in math, science and computer science studies. As technology continues to drive world of business, those challenged or generally disinterested in science and math will be left behind. In fact, that's exactly what's happening.
Although women make up approximately 50% of general work force in U.S., they only represent 9% of workers in science and engineering community. With such a low percentage of female interest, government is expecting increased worker shortages through first decade of 21st century for information technology (IT) industry.
The core worker in IT industry are computer engineers, systems analysts, programmers and computer scientists, which includes database administrators, computer support personnel and all other computer scientists. These are all careers that relate directly back to high school math and science, in addition to computer science studies.
Growth projections by The Bureau of Labor Statistics' indicate that current graduation rate of those in undergraduate computer, information sciences and technology programs aren't high enough to sustain industry's growth. In addition, they acknowledged that even greater decrease of women into computer science pipeline will have a profound effect on industry.
These researchers believe that low representation of women in computer science at undergraduate level is inherited from secondary school level, where girls do not participate in computer science courses and related activities as much as boys. Although girls are often well represented in earlier computing courses, they shy away from advanced courses. One possible reason for this is because of increased focus on technical and math course requirements.
This leads us back to math and science studies in elementary and high school, and yet another growing concern within scientific community.
We currently believe that our nation's future economic prosperity and global competition depends on both scientific progress and our adaptability in fields of science, technology and engineering. As our society shifts from a resource-intensive society to a knowledge-intensive economy, it is critical for all of us to develop knowledge and skills needed to contribute to this new community.
With this in mind, knowledge of math and science has now become essential for those pursuing a high-status and well-paid job in our new technologically advanced workforce.
Again, science community is concerned that industry growth in early 21st century will far out pace that of graduates. Once again, research has suggested that root of this problem can be traced back to elementary and high school classrooms.
In going back to classroom, a study by National Assessment of Education Progress discovered that girls score below national mean on all science achievement items and express negatives attitudes towards science. The study acknowledged that societal, education and personal factors all contribute to this funding, but stressed that differences within science classroom may be one of biggest contributing factors.