The federal government is beginning to take a close look at the accountability of programs designed to increase opportunities for minorities in science. Funding applications now require that grantee institutions set internal goals, fashion programs to meet those objectives, and become actively involved with government agencies in the evaluation process. Moves also are afoot to create an independently managed clearinghouse of data on such programs. But these changes are occurring under a shadow of uncertainty cast by as-yet-unresolved court actions regarding the legality of the programs themselves.

MORE SCIENCE: QEM's Shirley McBay is trying to create an understanding that many students are underserved by science education.
At the federal level, the targets of such funding schemes are "underrepresented minorities," typically defined as including, although not necessarily limited to, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans. According to National Science Foundation figures, those three groups represented a combined 23 percent of the...

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