You may recall my project with several other smart, talented ladies: Strong Women in Tech. If you have been wondering how that is progressing, I’ll tell you right now that it has been stalled in implementation by one major element: the school system.
It may be a signifier that I am a little “kumbaya” at heart, but when I started this project I thought local and national schools would embrace the idea of strong female role models mentoring girls to stay in school and on a path to more involvement and possible future careers in science, math and technology. You know, those “hard” classes many assume girls aren’t into.
As it turns out, the schools do want to have mentoring in many cases, but there is much rampant paranoia out there these days and that has turned into a list of rules and regulations that has to be navigated in each district, and often, at each school as well. The red tape is astronomical. I’ve never seen so many road blocks to getting kids what they need to succeed in life, and I’m not just talking about Strong Women in Tech here, people.
The number of days kids spend out of school due to paranoia over everything from illness and vaccinations to school violence and weather is stunning. When are our kids even learning? Add to that the fact that many programs in arts and music (two things that help kids learn in other subjects like math and science) are cut, labs are under stocked, teachers are overworked, and logical thought is being supplanted by shortcuts (Everyday Math is an atrocity and an insult) and teaching to the test (MCAS, and the “all children left behind” mentality) and you wonder what we’ve become that we would choose to hold our kids back like this.
All ranting about the school system aside, I think that Strong Women in Tech is still an idea with legs (pun not intended). I have the support of a growing number of women who want to mentor at a local level in various areas, now I need to tap support from within school systems. Ladies: please offer up advice and ideas for surmounting this hurdle in the comments here or in the Ning group.