Why is it hard to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Is attending an American scientific meeting analogous to driving through Iowa, an endless sea of white male monoculture stretching as far as the eye can see?

Current statistics from the National Science Foundation on women and minorities in science and engineering suggest that the demographic composition of scientists and engineers does not reflect the large diversity of the American population. Over 70% of scientists and engineers in the United States are white, 12% Asian, 6% Hispanic, and only 5% black.

I have been involved in science education for over 20 years, primarily as a teacher educator. In that role, I have observed first hand efforts for improving diversity of both teachers and scientists.

Educators face many challenges in advancing the learning of science in classrooms. I have seen the continuing challenges of minority students in both the university science departments and the public schools. From the trenches of public K-12 education we often see societal changes and demographic shifts before many others.

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