In 1992, The Woodrow Wilson Foundation was given an opportunity to contribute to gender equity reform. On the advice of one of the country's leading researchers, who believes that the major share of the research has been done, the Foundation moved toward the next step. Classically, educational research has too often operated in isolation from the classroom, so the Woodrow Wilson Gender Equity for Mathematics and Science Congress chose to focus on ways to bridge the gulf between theory and practice.
Since 1982, the Foundation has been administering The Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program for Teachers of Mathematics, Science and History. The fundamental operating theory that drove the program was that there are expert, experienced teachers who know what works in the classroom and who are, thus, a valuable resource for educational reform. The Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program was designed to allow such teachers the opportunity to look at current research in the field, at new methods and technology to determine what would work in the classroom, to devise ways to integrate that new information into current curricula, and to create ways to share the information with other teachers. When we looked at the question of gender equity, the model, which had been so successful in other areas, appeared to be a natural medium for approaching this topic.
Teachers of mathematics and the sciences who had been part of the program were invited to Princeton in June of 1993 to look at the most recent research in gender equity and to consider ways in which the results of that research could be used most effectively. Although many of the teachers were familiar with some of the research, looking at it together would provide them with a baseline from which to work. To heighten their awareness of the issues, an expert in journal writing guided their investigative efforts, and a teacher who had experience with advocacy discussed possible methods for demonstrating the importance of these issues to school systems, parents, and regulatory bodies. The following material is the result of two weeks' collaboration between extremely knowledgeable teachers and some of the country's best researchers on gender equity.
The material is divided into three sections:
Names of the researchers and teachers are provided, as well as an extensive bibliography. The participants are all active in presenting workshops in their fields and may be a good resource for anyone who wishes further information on the use of these materials.
The material in this module is designed to be copied so that it can be widely used. Please share the information with other interested teachers. We hope you find that it provides successful experiences for your students.
Additional copies of this module are available from the Foundation. Leaders of the TORCH program may request copies for participants in WWNFF one-week institutes.