Mathematics Federal File

Crunch Time

By Alyson Klein — March 06, 2006 1 min read

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings put her marketing skills—honed during years of selling Girl Scout cookies—to good use in making a sales pitch last week for the Bush administration’s plan for advancing math and science education.

At a speech to local council executives of the Girl Scouts in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28, Ms. Spellings announced plans for the Department of Education to hold a major conference later this year on the topic of boosting the number of girls in advanced math and science classes. No date has been set.

Read a transcript of our exclusive online chat on Math and Science Education in the U.S..

In prepared remarks, Ms. Spellings promoted the meeting as a way to close the gender gap in enrollment in Advanced Placement physics, computer science, and other classes that emphasize what she termed the “pocket protector” skills employers increasingly value.

The secretary also promoted the participation of such high-achieving women as astronaut Sally K. Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, and Julie L. Gerberding, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ms. Spellings acknowledged that math and science have not always been major areas of concern for groups such as the Girl Scouts. She noted that when the New York City-based organization was formed in 1912, girls were “working on badges like Matron Housekeeper, which focused on vacuuming and polishing the floor.”

She added that when she was a Girl Scout in the late 1960s, “the most popular badge was called Social Dancer.” But in today’s economy, “girls need more advanced skills to succeed,” the secretary said.

Still, Ms. Spellings acknowledged that her experience selling Girl Scout cookies door to door—Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties (now Tagalongs) were and are her favorites, she added—helped prepare her for her role in communicating President Bush’s education agenda to the nation.

Ms. Spellings recalled that when she and her best friend, Joanne Scofield, went out to sell cookies, they agreed to take turns making the sales pitch. But Ms. Scofield usually “would chicken out and say, ‘I don’t want to talk. You do it.’ ” Ms. Spellings said.

“So I was the one doing all the talking,” the secretary added, “and I’ve been doing all the talking ever since.”

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Whitepaper
Daily Math Fluency Positively Impacts Math Scores
The objectives of this pilot were to gain an understanding of the impact on student knowledge and test scores and to gain insight into th...

Content provided by Hand2Mind
Mathematics Opinion Teach Math in Ways That Are 'Proactive' & Not 'Reactive'
Eleven educators share their ideas on how to promote culturally responsive teaching in mathematics.
23 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Mathematics Opinion Twelve Ways to Make Math More Culturally Responsive
Four educators share ideas for using culturally responsive teaching in math class, including by helping students make community connections.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Mathematics The Problem With Giving Math Tests Online and How Teachers Are Solving It
With students working remotely, there’s no point in administering assessments that ask them to give a single answer; it’s too easy to cheat.
8 min read
Image shows a laptop, virual teacher, virual classroom, and coronavirus symbols.
Mathisworks/DigitalVision Vectors