Monday, January 26, 2009

Good grief.

Youngsters of both genders avoid careers that involve math and science because they lack confidence in those topics, "despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math and science as their favorite subjects."

All told, 85% of kids say that they are not interested in an engineering career, according to a survey released Monday from the American Society for Quality.

The headline the J-S puts on this is "Girls shun engineering careers, ASQ study shows". As if anyone needed a survey to know that, or we already know why. But why don't boys want to pursue engineering careers? What are they being told to do instead? What's changed in the past 20 years?
ASQ cited numbers from the National Science Foundation, which projects that the U.S. shortage of engineers will reach 70,000 by 2010*, even as the nation's employers court talent from China and India.

Who cares what an engineer has between their legs if they're qualified and capable? Seriously, why does it matter? China and India don't make a big deal out of forcing women into science...

I suspect the "lack of confidence" in math and science has something to do with a) how it's presented in classrooms, in the seven minutes left in the school day after all the multicultural feel-good self-esteem social-services stuff by b) K-6 teachers who have no mathematical interest or ability. (In my weekend with Facebook, I've noticed a strong positive correlation between "couldn't pass pre-algebra without cheating on the homework" and "employed as a teacher.")

* In January 2009, there seems to be a glut of software engineers. Next life, I'm majoring in Lesbian Latina Deconstructionist Studies.


Dad29 said...

The article's claim that 'there is a shortage' is foofoodust.

And when, EVER, have more than 15% of kids been interested in engineering?

HeatherRadish said...

I'm willing to entertain the idea that there could be a shortage in certain new sub-specialities. I'd like nuclear energy to catch on enough that there's a shortage of nuclear power engineers...

Now that you mention it, I should have mocked them for implying a shortage in 2010 can be remedied with "youngsters". Heh.