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NEW YORK—Christine Quinn announced a proposal to open at least five new all-girls’ science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) middle schools.
Quinn is the New York City Council Speaker and is running for mayor. She said she would work on the proposal if elected.
Only 15 percent of female high school seniors expressed interest in entering the technology field in a recent nationwide survey, Quinn said. She believes a gender gap exists in STEM education and that, if implemented, her plans could help close that gap.
“We can’t let these smart, talented, brilliant girls slip through the cracks,” Quinn said at a press conference next to the Pier 1 playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Aug. 26. “Instead we need to do all we can to foster the limitless potential of New York City’s girls, and girls across this state and country.”
STEM education has come to the forefront in recent years as the nation’s technology sector continues to create jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as those in other fields.
Quinn focused her plan on middle schools because according to studies, girls perform equally with boys in their younger years, but begin to perform worse than boys during middle school.
The schools will provide special programming to prepare girls for continued education in STEM fields, including additional instruction during the school day for girls who plan to apply to specialized high schools.
According to Quinn, boys far outnumber girls in the city’s specialized high schools. There are two male students for each female student, for example, at the City College High School for Mathematics Science and Engineering. Quinn added that only one in four students in the city’s public school tech programs are female.