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The Best of Our Knowledge # 823

The U.S. national report card in science was just released. While some
gains were seen in primary grades, middle grades and high school
showed little or no progress. More details next week on that topic.
Just days prior to those results, the first ever National Summit on the Advancement of Girls in Math and Science was held in Washington, D.C.
It brought together for the first time over 100 of the top educators, mathematicians, scientists, and corporate leaders from around the
country. The Summit was co-hosted by Dr. Kathie Olsen, Deputy
Director of the National Science Foundation, and Secretary of
Education, Margaret Spellings. They were joined by leaders from
NASA, plus former astronaut, Sally Ride, and the head of the National
Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the USA. Secretary Spellings
said low participation in math and science activities by girls is keeping
them from achieving their full potential and weakening the nation's ability
to compete. This event was so large, that we plan to broadcast further
segments of it during other shows later this summer.
Glenn Busby reports. (7:44)

**(Program Directors please note. If listeners would like to read more
about the above Summit, visit the Dept. of Ed.'s web site at : www.ed.gov)**

Many of the speakers at that National Summit on Girls in Math and
Science we just heard about emphasized programs outside the
classroom. Practical, hands on applications to help encourage young
women to stay in math and science. Well, we decided to revisit just
such a program that we last reported on, on this show, seven years
ago, in June, 1999. It's the Tall Ship Semester for Girls based in San
Francisco. It was only a year old in 1999. Now, after eight years, it's
part of the Tall Ship Education Academy, partnered with San Francisco
State University, and accredited by the Western Association of Schools
and Colleges. The Tall Ship Semester for Girls provides a high school
semester of academic instruction and credit. It takes high school girls
outside classroom walls, and puts them in the open air on a tall ship's
deck. First, the students spend six weeks learning about things like
math needed for navigation, and the science of oceanography. Then,
they move to the Caribbean to board a 120 foot schooner, the Spirit of Massachusetts, for a six-week, 2-thousand mile voyage of exploration
and experimentation.
Ben Trefny reports. (4:30)

**(Program Directors please note. For listeners interested in finding out
more info on the Tall Ship Semester for Girls, log onto their web site: www.tallshipsemester.org)**

One thing the Dutch have done that's made a large impact on the
world is sailing. Back in the 16-hundreds, Holland and its East India
Company ruled both the waves and the world of commerce. Dutch
ships linked a vast colonial and commercial empire. Today, huge
container vessels move most of the cargo. But the art of sailing is
not entirely lost. The Enkuizen Nautical School in North Holland is
the only place left in Europe where students can learn to sail the old
fashioned way. We learn all about it from School Director, Henk Wever.
Michel Walraven reports from Radio Netherlands. (4:25)