Education & Training

Legislative Chair: Senator Linda Gray (AZ)

OVERVIEW: Committee Members have been actively seeking ways to support STEM education priorities, updating Health curriculums to include teen dating violence education as well as youth tobacco prevention programs, meeting the needs of underserved youth through the National Backpack Program, and establishing a National Women's History Museum in Washington, DC.

Education Transformation - Meeting the Demands of the 21st Century

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education has been placed at the forefront of this Committee's education priorities. STEM initiatives are critical to empowering today's youth as the next generation of scientists, engineers, and inventors shaping the future of a growing nation.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM fields are expected to add 2.7 million new jobs by 2018 and projected to grow by 17.0 percent, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. The Department of Labor identifies fourteen sectors that are "projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries or are being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new sets of skills for workers.

In conjunction with NFWL's Business, Housing & Economic Development Policy Committee, this Committee has been working to promote STEM education initiatives. Strengthening STEM education initiatives will encourage innovation and enhance economic development. Establishing collaborative visions and relationships between state and local governments and industry leaders will allow educators to provide opportunities for students to pursue careers in growing STEM fields.

Using 21st Century Tools to Prevent Youth Tobacco Use

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day in the United States approximately 3,800 young people under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,000 youth in that age group become daily cigarette smokers. Smoking and smokeless tobacco use are initiated and established primarily during adolescence. New "futuristic" tobacco-derived products are entering the market both online and at retail outlets. Updated state laws are urgently needed to prevent minors from purchasing or possessing these new adult tobacco-derived products.

This Committee is working in conjunction with NFWL's Crime, Justice, Terrorism and Substance Abuse Policy Committee to reduce youth tobacco use and access. Elected women are currently exploring and supporting educational efforts that play a meaningful role in accelerating the decline in youth tobacco use, such as the "Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free," an evidence-based youth tobacco prevention program.

Preventing Teen Dating Violence (TDV) through Education

NFWL-LINA State Legislative Chart for Teen Dating Violence Education

NFWL partnered with Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc.'s (formerly known as Liz Claiborne) Love Is Not Abuse Coalition to join the elected women who serve on this NFWL Policy Committee with parent and student advocates in their respective states so that they can work together to find ways to incorporate teen dating violence education into health curriculums for middle and high school students.

Teen dating violence is at epidemic proportions, resulting in thousands of preventable deaths. All children deserve a chance to grow and prosper and to be empowered with the information they need to make good choices. This is not domestic violence, bullying, or cyber-stalking - teen dating violence is its own epidemic, and it is preventable through education and awareness.

According to a survey conducted by Liz Claiborne Inc., nearly 1 in 3 teens (29%) report actual sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of physical abuse and 1 in 4 teens (24%) have been victimized through technology. 1 in 2 teens (47%) report that they have been personally victimized by controlling behaviors from a boyfriend or girlfriend. Just as startling, 80% of teens report knowing someone who has been a victim of controlling behaviors from a boyfriend or girlfriend

This silent threat has been spreading through every community leading to murder and suicide. Teens do not know how to recognize the signs of an abusive partner or that they can be easily controlled by a partner through constant text messaging. What is worse is that parents are not even aware of the signs and what they should be looking for in these adolescent relationships.

This Committee is working in conjunction with NFWL's Crime, Justice, Terrorism, & Substance Abuse Policy Committee to combat this public health and safety crisis.

Providing Educational Resources to Underserved Youth

NFWL has partnered with the Office Depot Foundation since 2005 to provide backpacks containing school supplies to underserved and at-risk elementary school students. This backpack program was established in 2001 by Office Depot in an effort to provide backpacks and school supplies to children in need.

Each year NFWL's Education Team Leaders are invited to hand out 350 of these backpacks in their states and Tribal nations. NFWL has secured more than 18,000 backpacks each year for women elected officials to distribute during the month of August - Office Depot National Backpack Month. The overall goal of this project is to place backpacks and school supplies into the hands of the children who need them the most as they start the new school year, all while generating positive media attention for the good work our elected women do in their states every day.

Establishing a National Women's History Museum in the Nation's Capital

Although women constitute a majority of the nation's population their achievements and contributions are underrepresented in museums and memorials. NFWL is a key member of the Coalition of organizations supporting the establishment of the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) near the National Mall in Washington, DC. Once established near the National Mall, the NWHM will showcase the full history of women in the United States and the contributions they have made and continue to make in the marketplace, arts and sciences, government, entertainment, education, home, and community.

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