Jane Margolis

Jane Margolis is Senior Researcher at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the coauthor of Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing and Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, both published by the MIT Press.

  • Power Up!

    A Graphic Novel of Digital Empowerment

    Jean J. Ryoo and Jane Margolis

    A diverse group of teenage friends learn how computing can be personally and politically empowering and why all students need access to computer science education.

    This lively graphic novel follows a diverse group of teenage friends as they discover that computing can be fun, creative, and empowering. Taylor, Christine, Antonio, and Jon seem like typical young teens—they communicate via endless texting, they share jokes, they worry about starting high school, and they have each other's backs. But when a Black man is shot and killed by police in their city, they are outraged—and then they learn that he had been misidentified and tracked by an artificial intelligence program. How can an algorithm be racist? And what is an algorithm, anyway? In school, they decide to explore computing classes, with mixed results. One class is only about typing. The class that Christine wants to join is full, and the school counselor suggests that she take a class in “Tourism and Hospitality” instead. (Really??) But Antonio's class seems legit, Christine finds an after-school program, and they decide to teach the others what they learn. By summer vacation, all four have discovered that computing is both personally and politically empowering.

    Interspersed through the narrative are text boxes with computer science explainers and inspirational profiles of people of color and women in the field (including Katherine Johnson of Hidden Figures fame). Power Up! is an essential read for young adults, general readers, educators, and anyone interested in the power of computing, how computing can do good or cause harm, and why addressing underrepresentation in computing needs to be a top priority.

    • Paperback $19.95
  • Stuck in the Shallow End, Updated Edition

    Stuck in the Shallow End, Updated Edition

    Education, Race, and Computing

    Jane Margolis

    Why so few African American and Latino/a students study computer science: updated edition of a book that reveals the dynamics of inequality in American schools.

    The number of African Americans and Latinx receiving undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science is disproportionately low. And relatively few African American and Latinx high school students receive the kind of institutional encouragement, educational opportunities, and preparation needed for them to choose computer science as a field of study and profession. In Stuck in the Shallow End, Jane Margolis and coauthors look at the daily experiences of students and teachers in three Los Angeles public high schools: an overcrowded urban high school, a math and science magnet school, and a well-funded school in an affluent neighborhood. They find an insidious “virtual segregation” that maintains inequality.

    The race gap in computer science, Margolis discovers, is one example of the way students of color are denied a wide range of occupational and educational futures. Stuck in the Shallow End is a story of how inequality is reproduced in America—and how students and teachers, given the necessary tools, can change the system. Since the 2008 publication of Stuck in the Shallow End, the book has found an eager audience among teachers, school administrators, and academics. This updated edition offers a new preface detailing the progress in making computer science accessible to all, a new postscript, and discussion questions (coauthored by Jane Margolis and Joanna Goode).

    • Paperback $25.00
  • Stuck in the Shallow End

    Stuck in the Shallow End

    Education, Race, and Computing

    Jane Margolis

    An investigation into why so few African American and Latinx high school students are studying computer science reveals the dynamics of inequality in American schools.

    Relatively few African American and Latinx high school students receive the kind of institutional encouragement, educational opportunities, and preparation needed for them to choose computer science as a field of study and profession. In Stuck in the Shallow End, Jane Margolis looks at the daily experiences of students and teachers in three Los Angeles public high schools: an overcrowded urban high school, a math and science magnet school, and a well-funded school in an affluent neighborhood. She finds an insidious “virtual segregation” that maintains inequality. Two of the three schools studied offer only low-level, how-to (keyboarding, cutting and pasting) introductory computing classes. The third and wealthiest school offers advanced courses, but very few students of color enroll in them. The race gap in computer science, Margolis finds, is one example of the way students of color are denied a wide range of occupational and educational futures. Margolis traces the interplay of school structures (such factors as course offerings and student-to-counselor ratios) and belief systems—including teachers' assumptions about their students and students' assumptions about themselves. Stuck in the Shallow End is a story of how inequality is reproduced in America—and how students and teachers, given the necessary tools, can change the system.

    • Hardcover $24.95
    • Paperback $19.95
  • Unlocking the Clubhouse

    Unlocking the Clubhouse

    Women in Computing

    Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher

    Understanding and overcoming the gender gap in computer science education.

    The information technology revolution is transforming almost every aspect of society, but girls and women are largely out of the loop. Although women surf the Web in equal numbers to men and make a majority of online purchases, few are involved in the design and creation of new technology. It is mostly men whose perspectives and priorities inform the development of computing innovations and who reap the lion's share of the financial rewards. As only a small fraction of high school and college computer science students are female, the field is likely to remain a "male clubhouse," absent major changes.

    In Unlocking the Clubhouse, social scientist Jane Margolis and computer scientist and educator Allan Fisher examine the many influences contributing to the gender gap in computing. The book is based on interviews with more than 100 computer science students of both sexes from Carnegie Mellon University, a major center of computer science research, over a period of four years, as well as classroom observations and conversations with hundreds of college and high school faculty. The interviews capture the dynamic details of the female computing experience, from the family computer kept in a brother's bedroom to women's feelings of alienation in college computing classes. The authors investigate the familial, educational, and institutional origins of the computing gender gap. They also describe educational reforms that have made a dramatic difference at Carnegie Mellon—where the percentage of women entering the School of Computer Science rose from 7% in 1995 to 42% in 2000—and at high schools around the country.

    • Hardcover $37.50
    • Paperback $32.95