Author: Robert J. Rutman, p.12

I was amazed to read the news story on the science dropout rate (Franklin Hoke, The Scientist, Jan. 25, 1993, page 1) and find no discussion of the relation to minority and female participation. Yet, as far as the future is concerned, this is the center of gravity of the problem.

While the educational pipeline leading to technological careers has never had more than a fraction of the minority and female candidates needed, in recent years this fraction has declined drastically as the candidate population has become increasingly minority-female. The phenomenon of dropouts has always been greatest among minorities and continues to increase.

As the gender-race composition of the student population changes, we face the alarming prospect of a continual increase in all levels of science dropout and a continual decline of college- and graduate- level science students. As these trends become entrenched, basic science...

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