Martin Luther King, Dream Realized/ Not!!
The Dream? Let’s Update the Dream
By Bonnie Bracey Sutton
President Obama and Dr. King’s dream
During the 1963 March on Washington, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” One year after the inaguration
of Barack Obama— the first African American of the 44 presidents of the United States — we are seeing King’s dream at once realized and deferred.
I am old enough to have seen Martin Luther King in Washington on the Mall. I am young enough to have technology as a tool, and the world of knowledge in science, engineering, math and technology as work I have advocated and championed for over 20 years. Some of the years have been lonely, some of them well supported. Perhaps the new dream and the new quest is to create the possibilities that all of our citizens can have a hand in creating the future for America.
King, I Have A Dream Speech
The Future is a Matter of National Importance
Concerns over national productivity, international competitiveness and homeland security have focused attention on the need to increase the participation of those who have been excluded. To learn more about this you can go to the website of Compete.org.
They say: With a billion new workers competing for the world’s jobs, simply being an American is not an entitlement to a secure, high-wage job. High-speed communications and digitization are commoditizing work processes; every day it is easier to ship work around the world. Even technical work requiring skills that once commanded a premium is now often outsourced, off-shored or automated. Policies aimed solely at recovering lost jobs or stemming the tide of globalization are destined for failure.
American workers must establish a competitive edge at the intersection of disciplines – for example, science and business, math and economics, cultural anthropology and marketing, or art and telecommunications. Educational institutions must continue to adapt to prepare Americans with new skills as new industries and opportunities arise. We must recognize and embrace the multitude of opportunities created by the convergence of manufacturing and services. We must better link young job seekers with the needs of businesses and better understand the opportunities for high paying technically skilled jobs that cannot be easily off-shored.
You can see why they are concerned about broadening engagement.
Many of our national technology groups are not. The people who represent technology are all white men. Nor are they particularly interested in digital equity. Most would rather reach to Uganda , or Dubai, or some exotic place, than work with our USA minorities wherever they might be.I was told that sponsors were not interested in digital equity by one organization, the idea of social justice? Old and not interesting to funders. Washington is speaking a different language they told me.Well ,the 18 groups that have been to the Congress speak my language.
Norm Augustine is my cheerleader!!
Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future urged the United States to make the investments needed to “compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community of the 21st century.”
The report recommended 20 specific implementing actions in four broad areas:
K-12 Science and Mathematics Education: Increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 science and mathematics education.
Science and Engineering Research: Sustain and strengthen the nation’s traditional commitment to long-term basic research that has the potential to be transformational to maintain the flow of new ideas that fuel the economy, provide security, and enhance the quality of life.
Science and Engineering Higher Education: Make the United States the most attractive setting in which to study and perform research so that we can develop, recruit, and retain the best and brightest students, scientists, and engineers from within the United States and throughout the world.
Incentives for Innovation: Ensure that the United States is the premier place in the world to innovate; invest in downstream activities such as manufacturing and marketing; and create high-paying jobs based on innovation by such actions as modernizing the patent system, realigning tax policies to encourage innovation, and ensuring affordable broadband access.
Convocation on the Gathering Storm
What Needs to Happen to Broaden Engagement?
We must broaden engagement and create opportunities for our minority students and girls. It is nice to have Obama as a president. It would be also nice to see that we have created opportunities for all of the children of this nation in education. This is going to happen, but how and when? People seem interested enough in creating opportunities for others globally. What’s the problem with serving and caring about the distant,rural, urban, and underdeveloped areas of the country?
Many of Martin Luther King’s dreams, and ideas were not shared. Here’s a quote I like. It may fit as we have Obama for a president. This is the time to keep on going on!
“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” Martin Luther King
There is a digital divide, a content divide, information divide and a knowledge divide.
The Gender Divide
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle- Gender Equity -Women , so What?
Most of our teachers are women and men are not used to the concept of othermothering to explain how we work effectively in places of need.
As a digital equity advocate for social justice, and a person who is always pushing gender equity, I had another heroine. She was working in Supercomputing. When I first saw her I did not know what Supercomputing was, all I knew was that she was an old lady and that men thought she was a genius and wonderful and she was still in the Navy. I happened to live and teach in Arlington, Virginia, so I met Grace Hopper.
Grace Who? Grace Hopper
Pioneer Computer Scientist
The new discipline of computing and the sciences that depend upon it have led the way in making space for women’s participation on an equal basis. That was in some ways true for Grace Murray Hopper, and it is all the more true for women today because of Hopper’s work.
Perhaps her best-known contribution to computing was the invention of the compiler, the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer. She did this, she said, because she was lazy and hoped that “the programmer may return to being a mathematician.” Her work embodied or foreshadowed enormous numbers of developments that are now the bones of digital computing: subroutines, formula translation, relative addressing, the linking loader, code optimization, and even symbolic manipulation of the kind embodied in Mathematica and Maple.
Her skills allowed her to be employed long past the time of usual retirement.
That is not something that is happening in education. In education, once one reaches a certain salary plateau, it is possible to be an endangered species. This is something that is not taught in the schools of education. These policies should be rethought.
Thinking about STEM .. I like this quote this from a physics professor.
“The demographic changes to occur in the U.S. over the next
half century make it vital that we increase the participation of
women and under-represented minorities in physics, as
well as all other scientific and technological fields.”
Artie Bienenstock, Stanford
University, APS President
I like this quote because I was publicly embarassed and challenged by a EOT officer who spoke to me that maybe I was not smart enough to do computational science. Not sure where that came from and or why!! This is a woman who is employed to make a difference with taxpayer money , ..It is not that I am stupid, or dense. Supercomputing was not a part of my college education. I humble myself to learn so that I can share and engage others
in STEM and other disciplines.
I am not a PhD, or even a rocket scientist. But I am a teacher, a mother, a grandmother and I touch the future with my ideas and dreams. My daughter, is a doctor, a child , not one that I birthed, but a child I nurtured in school.
How Do We Connect the Dots? Best Practices?
My way of advocating is to share the opportunities, to create a workshop in teacher outreach to show the possibilities and to connect the dots for educational leaders. We had a teacher outreach day at the Teragrid and Supercomputing Conferences. It was a way for me was a way to share the knowledge of the groups to teachers who have the skills to make a difference , but who may not have had the time to seize the opportunity of networking. We created the opportunity. I learned this from participating in the SITE Conference.
“Spreading best practices through
workshops makes the environment
better for everyone,not just women.” Patricia Rankin,
University of Colorado
The watering hole for me, has been the Teragrid, and the Supercomputing Conferences and their outreach. The woman did not know my history of work with President Clinton, or Vice President Gore, or even who Ron Brown was. Her idea was that I was spinning my wheels trying to get a handle on Supercomputing. Those are the conferences to link and connect back to the community of educators.
Here are some Teragrid links.
Smart Start http://sdsc/teachertech/smartteams
Don’t you just love this teacher outreach!! They did One of our participants went on the write grants of over a million dollars to serve her rural region. We had 384 applications for the few opportunities to attend the conference all expenses paid. So we created this experience.
Teacher Day. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172892&id=593996326&l=a016368f54
There are two places to go to find out more
Their mission: to improve math and science education through the effective use of modeling and simulation technologies — “computational science.”
Shodor, a national resource for computational science education, is located in Durham, N.C., and serves students and educators nationwide. Their online education tools such as Interactivate and the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD), a Pathway Portal of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), help transform learning through computational thinking.
In addition to developing and deploying interactive models, simulations, and educational tools freely available on the web,
Concerns over national productivity, international competitiveness, and homeland security have finally focused attention on the need to increase and broaden engagement of natives of America, the minorities, in the US, science, technology , engineering, and mathematics workshop.
First, we have to make sure that they are on the pathways of learning, that education is valued, that reading and literacy are skills. Then?
Career experts say the key to securing jobs in growing fields will be coupling an in-demand degree with emerging trends. Job seekers will need to branch out and pick up secondary skills or combine hard science study with softer skills.
Council on Competitiveness ,
Wall Street Journal, Landing a Job of the Future Takes a Two-Track Mind
Regarding the technology. I have a new partner, NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology
NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology. It is a coalition of nearly 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women’s participation in information technology (IT). NCWIT is a 501(c)(3)*, established in 2004 with startup funding from the National Science Foundation, Avaya, Microsoft, Pfizer, Bank of America, Intel, HP, the Kauffman Foundation, and Qualcomm.
NCWIT believes that inspiring more women to choose careers in IT isn’t about parity; it’s a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. In a global economy, gender diversity in IT means a larger and more competitive workforce; in a world dependent on innovation, it means the ability to design technology that is as broad and creative as the people it serves.
Why They Exist
* Girls represented just 17 percent of Advanced Placement computer science (CS) exam-takers in 2008; that’s the lowest female representation of any AP exam.
* In 2008 women earned only 18 percent of all CS degrees. Back in 1985, women earned 37 percent of CS degrees.
* Women hold more than half of all professional occupations in the U.S. but fewer than 24 percent of all computing-related occupations.
* Only 16 percent of Fortune 500 technology companies have women corporate officers.
* A study on U.S. technology patenting reveals that patents created by mixed-gender teams are the most highly cited (an indicator of their innovation and usefulness); yet women were involved in only 9 percent of U.S. tech patents.
You may not have noticed that in the STEM and Supercomputing worlds there is limited diversity. You may have a solution. Mine is to create the networks, the information, the partnerships that allow minorities to broaden engagement. I want to bring pathways to computing.
Jan Cuny says. “Computing is a creative activity that draws on a wide variety of fields, such as natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, social sciences, business, and the arts.
Abstraction is a central problem-solving technique in computer science.
Algorithms are the essence of computational problem solving.
Today, every discipline of science and engineering is being
revolutionized by the widespread use of comprehensive
cyberinfrastructure (CI). Computing power, data volumes, and network
capacities are all on exponential growth paths, collaborations are
growing dramatically, and all forms of CI—and multiple communities
spanning multiple agencies and international domains—often must be
brought to bear to address a single complex grand challenge problem,
such as climate change. All of these developments are part of a
revolutionary new approach to scientific discovery in which advanced
computational facilities (e.g., data systems, computing hardware, high
speed networks) and instruments (e.g., telescopes, sensor networks,
sequencers) are coupled to the development of quantifiable models,
algorithms, software and other tools and services to provide unique
insights into complex problems in science and engineering.
Why So Few: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
How do we get more girls and women involved?
Darpa’s Kids’ Initiative
soliciting proposals for initiatives that would attract teens to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with an emphasis on computing. According to the Computer Research Association, computer science enrollment dropped 43% between 2003 and 2006.
Darpa’s worried that America’s “ability to compete in the increasingly internationalized stage will be hindered without college graduates with the ability to understand and innovate cutting edge technologies in the decades to come.
Though they aren’t specifying what sorts of programs might work–that’s for applicants to figure out–but these might include mentorship programs and career days. (In related news, Time Warner, who can’t seem to get your cable working right, recently announced that they’re dedicating $100 million to http://www.connectamillionminds.com/
just such a mentorship program
Darpa’s RFP is barely written in English, but it contains some pretty sharp-eyed critiques of the current system. Darpa notes that even though there are plenty of sciency programs out there such as space camp, geared at middle-schoolers. But there’s not much else. The challenge is to create a continuum of activities that engage students all along the path from middle-school to college.
Of course, the smart, Darpa way to do something like this would be to have educational grants and extra-curricular programs that follow a kid through high-school and fund their college, provided they enter a scientific career. (This works for West Point grads and the Army, no?)
But the big elephant in the room is the American culture of science education.
Or the culture of exclusion of minorities. ISTE attendees can vote for their keynote, but the selection – 5 white males – is raising eyebrows. Tim Holt asks, “Where are the women? Where are the minority groups? Why couldn’t the list like like this for instance: Marco Torres, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, Bonney Bracey Sutton, Chris Lehman, Ken Shelton?” I would add that it is possible – indeed, more likely – that you will find a diverse set of people through fair recruitment techniques. In order to get an all-white-male set of speakers, the selection process has to have been skewed in such a way as to select (even if unintentionally) for that outcome. Tim Holt, Intended Consequences, January 16, 2010.
We need more than Obama in leadership. We need the dream for all.
How can you really get kids into these careers when most of America views evolution on par with intelligent design; when so many science teachers can barely communicate the lesson, much less the broader value of the disciplines they’re teaching; and science is still looked as the providers of grinders and dweebs? We have been in a culture of men, who say just teach the kids. Teachers touch the future and need to have adequate professional development, not just the toys of 2.0 and 3.0.
If we are going to get students to be connected and interested beyond the participatory culture projects like this that involve teachers and kids are necessary.
Places to go!!
To find out what works in Public Education?
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Darpa Kid Inititiave
Digital Generation Project
The George Lucas Educational Foundation has it right when they talk about the Digital Generation. Today’s kids are born digital — born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities. But their digital lifestyle is about more than just cool gadgets; it’s about engagement, self-directed learning, creativity, and empowerment. The Digital Generation Project tells their stories so that educators and parents can understand how kids learn, communicate, and socialize in very different ways than any previous generation.
I use these stories of their youth portraits, but you may have other favorites.
The future is in our hands and minds!!