To the Editor:
. . . Rita Kramer’s thesis in “Are Girls Shortchanged in School?” [June] suggests that gender bias in the classroom does not exist or is not important. In her criticism of the report issued by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), How Schools Shortchange Girls, Mrs. Kramer goes so far as to suggest that perhaps girls may be genetically ill-equipped for math and science. Yet the report’s exhaustive review of 1,331 scholarly studies and documents found pervasive sex discrimination from preschool through high school. The AAUW report has resonated deeply with parents and educators across America. They understand that education reform cannot succeed without addressing the gender-specific inequities that undermine the self-esteem and achievement of schoolgirls.
Commissioned by the AAUW Educational Foundation and researched by the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, the report found pervasive bias against girls in textbooks, tests, and teaching. This results in a dramatic drop in girls’ self-esteem during adolescence and few girls pursuing interests in math and science. The report served as the catalyst for the first National Education Summit on Girls, attended by 40 leaders of the nation’s top education and youth-serving organizations. The National Education Association, the Education Commission of the States, the College Board, the National PTA, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and others united for the purpose of making schools more equitable for girls and boys.
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