Up against the centuries-old obsession with white military men in the American monument landscape, women in Lexington, Mass.—ground zero of American military history—are leading the charge to create a monument to women in the town’s history. But they are predictably encountering significant headwinds.
When it comes to preparing youth to lead healthy, sex-positive lives, we know that the state of sex education in our middle and high schools is dire. And although teaching sex ed is often considered the responsibility of middle and high schools, colleges often end up dealing with the fallout related to this lack of education.
Many first-year U.S. college students enroll in a college in the state where they live, so it’s especially important for states with lackluster high school sex ed to address it at the college level.
When school went online during COVID lockdowns, Kimberly Vasquez’s unreliable WiFi started to hinder her schoolwork. Her grade point average dropped but her family could only afford the low-cost plan that wasn’t suitable for remote learning.
Vasquez, joined by Yashira Valenzuela and Aliyah Abid, organized to petition Comcast to make their plans faster and more economical for low-income families. After rallying at Comcast headquarters, the city’s largest provider made the most affordable option for internet run at twice the speed.
Over 143,000 education sector workers quit their jobs in December alone. COVID-19 has not only caused anxiety and fears among teachers for their own health and that of their families; they are also facing increased responsibility. The “feminization” of the profession has allowed it to exist in the lower rungs of society for too long.
“I no longer have too much on my plate. The plate is broken and the shards are digging into my skin, but I can’t drop what I am carrying. If I drop it, I don’t think anyone else will pick it up.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in educational programs or activities. Because almost all schools receive federal funds, the law applies in nearly every educational context. Most people associate Title IX with athletics, where it has indeed had a profound effect on girls and women. Before Title IX, women and girls were virtually excluded from most athletic opportunities in schools.
The Pew Research Center did a national survey to gauge awareness and attitudes about Title IX 50 years after its passage. Among those who know about Title IX, there are both gender and political gaps in how they think about it.
Eleni Livingston and Rana Banankhah, both 17 years old, are voting members of their states’ board of education. They help decide high school graduation requirements, determine teacher qualifications and develop state student assessments. They also bridge the gender gap in education leadership—since women make up only 31 percent of school district chiefs. Their experiences show the importance of student voices in policymaking.
“On the board it can be intimidating to go in, as a young woman, as a teenager, into an environment like that and jump right in and start advocating for my peers,” Livingston said.
“To be treated like an adult, even though I can’t even vote for [U.S.] president, was really eye-opening,” Banankhah said.
Horace Mann senior Simon Schackner created something that appears to have never been done before: a class simultaneously taught to 11 students at his high school and six students at a minimum-security women’s prison in Maine.
“Prison education is very important to the way that [people who are incarcerated] reenter society,” said Gwen Wellman, a student in a Maine correctional facility. “Having this opportunity has given our generation a look at how we are worth that opportunity.”
The student loan debt crisis is at an all time high, with 45 million people carrying an estimated $1.7 trillion in federal student loan debt. Women carry roughly two-thirds of it. Black and Brown women are disproportionately impacted by this issue.
Economic inequality, as influenced by class, race and gender, further increases each day student loan debt cancellation is delayed.
American families have long been struggling with out-of-reach childcare prices. The tremendous gap between what parents pay, and what early educators earn, is a product of a broken market. It cannot be solved on its own. The federal government must step in with sustainable, long-term investments through reconciliation.
Despite much anticipation, the Taliban regime announced today that girls’ schools from grades 7-12 will remain closed. Devastated teachers and students did not know about the announcement until they arrived at their schools had to return home.
In speaking with the BBC, one in Kabul student said, “I feel really hopeless for my future. I don’t see a bright future for myself. All we want is to go to school.”