Archive for July 12, 2011

New National Academies Report calls Science as important as Reading or Math

Interesting new report, which I think is probably more controversial than we might think.  The National Research Council is now saying science education is as important as reading and mathematics.  I don’t think that most people in the US will buy that. C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures are still alive and well.  There is a strong distrust of science in US society, as pointed out in the book Denialism:  Don’t get vaccines because they might cause illness; evolution is still an unproven theory; and humans are not having any impact on the environment.  I live in the South, where I heard a radio talk show just this last week about how the US “stifles” classroom teaching on creationism, and how other “more free-minded” nations (South Korea was mentioned by name) allow for classroom discussion that is critical of the “so-called science of evolution.”

Yes, we need more science education, but the adults that believe anti-science rhetoric are unlikely to agree that science is as important as reading or math.  Is this one of the barriers preventing CS education from taking hold in the US, that the anti-science bias extends to computer science?

State, national, and local policymakers should elevate science education in grades K-12 to the same level of importance as reading and mathematics, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report recommends ways that leaders at all levels can improve K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The report responds to a request from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) for the National Science Foundation — which sponsored the Research Council report — to identify highly successful K-12 schools and programs in STEM fields.

“A growing number of jobs — not just those in professional science — require knowledge of STEM fields,” said Adam Gamoran, chair of the committee that wrote the report and professor of sociology and educational policy studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “The goal isn’t only to have a capable and competitive work force. We need to help all students become scientifically literate because citizens are increasingly facing decisions related to science and technology — whether it’s understanding a medical diagnosis or weighing competing claims about the environment.”

via Report Recommends Ways to Improve K-12 STEM Education, Calls on Policymakers
To Raise Science Education to Same Level of Importance as Math and Reading

July 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm 4 comments

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