News from Washington

Things You May Have Missed

Week of 4 December 2017

Civil Liberties
On Tuesday, a group of 34 House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) urging action to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients before the end of the year. President Donald Trump ordered an end to the Obama-era program in September, giving Congress until March to find a legislative solution, though DACA recipients losing their status every day

The Committee on House Administration on Thursday held a hearing addressing sexual harassment in Congress and potential reforms. The hearing focused on the reporting and settlement processes through the Office of Compliance.

The Trump administration proposed new rules that would allow both religious and moral exemptions to contraception coverage, which could severely impact access to birth control.

Education

This week was Computer Science Education Week (December 4-10) and was dedicated to inspiring students to take interest in computer science. As opportunities to study and work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have increased, women have made impressive gains in many fields, particularly biological, environmental, and chemical/material sciences.

But despite this progress, women continue to lag in key fields like engineering and computer science.  The American Association of University Women research on the subject, Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computingfound that the number of women in computing decreased from 35 percent in 1990 to just 26 percent in 2013.

In recognition of Computer Science Education Week, AAUW also announced the release of our new cyber security curriculum for middle-school girls: STEMpack: Cyber Security. This curriculum, made possible through a partnership with cyber security company Symantec, is intended for a classroom setting and includes robust lessons that cover the origins of the internet, binary code, an introduction to programming languages and coding, deconstructing a computer, and more. Through this STEMpack, not only do students tackle cutting-edge coursework, but they also remain inspired to pursue their STEM passions long after the lessons are finished.

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