Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm really, really proud of my kids, and I'm being redundant part II

When I was growing up, my mom bought me the record 'Free To Be You and Me' starring Marlo Thomas. I must have listened to it hundreds of times. It's message was you can be who you want to be regardless of gender. I was a child when laws were changing- women could own property and get loans without their husband's permission, keep their jobs or stay in school if they were pregnant, or be whatever they wanted to be- doctors, lawyers, engineers, or astronauts. I was seven years old in 1972 when Title IX signed was signed into law. Schools could no longer legally treat boys and girls differently.

Most people think of sports when they think Title IX, but it also had a huge impact in the classroom. Girls could no longer be actively discouraged from taking science and math classes. I took the required home economics and shop classes with boys in junior high, and upper level math classes in high school. There were an equal number of boys and girls in my math class, and we had a terrific teacher who encouraged everyone. But despite my personal experience, I am still on guard for my girls. Math is essential for so many careers, and I want them to have as many options as possible. I was thrilled when my youngest Em tested into a high school algebra class.

She is the only girl from her school, so she walks at the end of the day with 7 other boys to the high school that is a few blocks away. The principal at the HS commented on Emily leading as the 7 boys brought up the rear. So I asked Em why she is always in front and she explained in a disgusted tone of voice that the boys were slow because they verbally spar every day over one of the greatest questions of our generation- which is better Star Wars or Star Trek? She has no time for dorky boys and their obsessions (Yay!). Moreover, she has shown no signs of having time for boys in general (Yay again!). I like the idea of her fearlessly leading the way to math class.

So she had her first test yesterday - math rules- no not "Math Rules!!!!!" but math rules, defining rules like the associative property. Anyway, she came home crowing because she was the only one in her car pool who got the bonus point. 3 of the boys in our neighborhood go to the special math class, including the twins we have carpooled with for 3 years. Their mom does most of the driving. Pinch me, I'm so lucky! Anyway, back to math rules- the directions at the top of the test said to put a star next to your name, which she did. Em- you're a star in my book. I'm glad that you're not intimidated by being the only girl from your school going to math class, and I'm glad that the ideas in 'Free To Be You and Me' are not novel for you, but just how it is. Math Rules!

PS For the record, there are 8 girls out of 24 students in Em's math class.

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