The Best of Our Knowledge
3:31 am
Mon February 13, 2006

The Best of Our Knowledge # 804

Albany, NY – NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION SERIES POWERFUL SIGNALS: TRANSFORMING THE ROLE OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING TECHBRIDGE OAKLAND - There's been no wake up call. Norman Augustine says there has not yet been a Sputnik moment - a single galvanizing event that illustrates what the lack of math and science preparedness could mean to the average citizen. Augustine chaired a committee comprised of corporate, higher education, and science leaders. It reported out 10 recommendations to federal lawmakers for strengthening science and technology innovation. A consensus is now growing among politicians, educators, and corporate leaders in favor of a stronger national effort to bolster math and science education from the earliest grades, right on through college. We found an organization in California that's already been doing just that. During this school year, Techbridge is hosting 16 programs at 15 schools across the Oakland unified school district, and other neighboring communities. Techbridge - is so called - because it offers a bridge between middle school and high school. It offers after school and summer programs designed to encourage girls in science, engineering and technology. Techbridge includes: hands-on activities in a girls-only environment; counseling about career options in technology, science and engineering; leadership and self-esteem development; and family events for encouraging girls in science and technology. Now, five years since it began these innovative programs, Techbridge has taught 1,250 mostly minority, working class, and middle income students. TBOOK visited an Oakland middle school to find out from students and teachers just what makes their program successful. Reese Erlich reports. For more information about the many Techbridge programs in the Oakland, California area, or their Techbridge Summer Training Institute, visit their website: www.techbridgegirls.org. Also, if listeners would like to hear more stories like this in our exclusive radio series, just visit our special website: www.womeninscience.org. The preceding material is supported by the National Science Foundation, under Grant HRD-0436130. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this story are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH. TELEVISION IN BLACK AND WHITE AMERICA: RACE AND NATIONAL IDENTITY - The roots of Black History Month can be traced to the early part of the last century. In 1925, Carter G. Woodson, an educator and historian began campaigning among schools and black newspapers calling for what was then referred to as Negro History Week. Woodson was successful at getting this week instituted in 1926, during the second week of February. This time was chosen because Abraham Lincoln's and Frederick Douglass' birthdays both occurred then. The week evolved, until 30 years ago in 1976, Negro History Week became the Black History Month we celebrate today. Television has been around for nearly 60 years to show history like the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Brown v. Board of Education, and the integration of schools. In its early years, television was only available in black and white. And now, author, Dr. Alan Nadel, argues that, that is also an apt way to express the kind of American early televison showed viewers... black, and white. And he says it was very clear which one was supposed to represent genuine America. Dr. Alan Nadel is a Professor of Literature, Film & TV, and African-American Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. His book is published by the University Press of KansasSusan Arbetter reports. POST-SCRIPT:Just a note in closing, as we did the final production on this show, word came of the death of Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King. After Dr. King's death, she worked to keep his dream of equality for all people alive. Finally in 1983, she watched with pride as President Ronald Reagan signed into law the bill that made her husband's birthday a national holiday in the U.S. That first federal holiday was celebrated just 20 years ago.