Comments on: America is losing another generation to science illiteracy Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: eezy Sat, 04 Feb 2012 18:16:57 +0000 Teachers with degrees in math and the hard sciences that teach in their major should be paid more than regular teachers.

By: johnwerneken Tue, 06 Sep 2011 23:48:54 +0000 I don’t care if other perople can think critically. Don’t expect that of others tg and I’m not even sure WTF the phrase means. Democracy’s virtue is it’s relative reliance on law not on violence and its relative stability, not the fairness, inclusiveness, or occaisional wisdom of its decisions.

We’d have more qualified teachers if the alternative types were fired. Perhaps vouchers are the way to go.

What ever else the US does in education we ought to maintain or rebuild our lead in what CHINA does well: elite education for those with elite capabilities. And a set of skills to cope for the rest. That’s where the social payoffs are: leaders and followers not an “informned public” that’s an oxymoron anyway.

By: mrdon Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:06:24 +0000 The author seems to presume, first, that we have educators that are literate enough in science to teach the subject and, second, that science education is being crowded out by efforts to teach english and math. Neither is really very plausible.

Since 1970 we have increased inflation adjusted spending on K-12 education fourfold. We have doubled the number of people employed in the education system and the number of students has barely changed. For all of that effort, no one seriously believes that student achievement, measured any way you please, reflects those expenditures. Certainly there are issues with regard to testing crowding out other education, but can anyone really attribute our emphasis on testing to the fact that most of our children (and likely their teachers) can’t even get past saying “me and Bob………”? The bar which is set for the testing that is required is clearly a very, very low bar.

Perhaps it is not only science education which is being crowded out but, when realistically measured, it would appear that the time attributed to teaching english and math is obviously not being accounted for honestly. Perhaps the real distractions are not related to testing, but to the time intentionally devoted to a myriad of peripheral issues du jour (like bullying and mainstreaming students with severe learning disabilities) and unintentionally devoted dealing with the unacceptable distractions wrought by students who are not and cannot be motivated to participate in the education process.

As to the qualifications of teachers to actually teach science, the methods of science teaching that seem to prevail now go straight to “relevant” science issues without first touching base with basic science. As a person educated in science I am ceaselessly amazed at the extent to which science education education texts hone in on the “political sciences” i.e. subjects like ecology and environment and their dearth of furnishing the basic science which is necessary to put those things into context. Many science educators are amazingly unqualified to teach science. And many who might be qualified are not allowed to teach. My father was a PhD chemist. In his retirement he lamented that he could teach chemistry at any university in the world, but could not teach basic freshman chemistry at any public high school in the state where he lived.

I don’t much care what we do about testing in schools. Although I do recall that in my youth I took annual multi-day achievement tests which did not seem to greatly interfere with the rest of my education. What is unacceptable is the trope among educators what, somehow, the failure of our system to produce literate and educated students can be laid mostly at the doorstep of “testing” — especially when the bar set by those tests is set so low.

By: FredWelfare Fri, 02 Sep 2011 03:21:16 +0000 A part of the problem is that we need people who are qualified to teach science. Another part of the problem is that administrators should be well-informed about the state policies regarding science education including their Core Standards and assessments. Many teachers and administrators are misinformed, uncertain, or do not understand their states curricula, or what a curriculum is, what the Core Curriculum and Learning Standards are, or what teaching methodologies should be used by teachers because they work. Knowing the teaching objectives clearly is important for all; assessment indicates a faculty’s clarity of knowledge about what is to be taught and how it should be taught.

Assessment does not necessarily result in the neglect of science education and science thinking. Exit exams are often objected to on the basis of their validity – what is the purpose? Assessment has the purpose of focusing and aligning objectives not as a penalty process but as corrective feedback. Testing is often responded to negatively. Assessment as per NCLB, in NYS, the 4th grade, the 8th grade, and the High School Regents Exams, should be a process of corrective feedback. Teachers and administrators should tailor their knowledge of curricular objectives and teaching methods on the basis of assessment from year to year. During the year, assessment should address the Core Curriculum as corrective feedback for reteaching. Too often, the process of assessment is felt as a penalty process. It is not properly implemented and avoided. Students often complain about testing because they also feel it as a penalty process.

Many teachers and administrators do not understand that English and Math problems on exit exams involve problems from the content areas, Science and Social Studies. There should be a blending or interdisciplinary sensitivity within the various subject areas. It is important that everyone understands that the development of thinking and knowledge proceeds by the acquisition of scientific problem-solving methods and content. Institutionally, this problem of not teaching to objectives involves the situation that many teachers do not teach a class during the year that ends with an exit exam. Consider the many teachers in High School who do not teach a Regents course, or a 6th grade teacher, for example, whose students will not be tested at the end of the year. There is a gap of necessary rigor between teachers.

In NYS this year, we will see the incorporation of Common Core Learning Standards along with the Core Curriculum and Learning Standards that are already in place. New assessments will be forthcoming. It is important that all teachers address STEM, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, curricula and use teaching methods that are informed by assessment.

By: coyotle Wed, 24 Aug 2011 02:03:30 +0000 This nation was founded by an elite group of individuals seeking to further their own personal interests. The notion that socio-economic back round influences test scores should come as no surprise to anyone. The real question should be, are our students making gains in reading comprehension and critical thinking in regards to all subjects.

I for one would like to see a follow up piece examining in depth the funding gap between poor and wealthy school districts. And also how property taxes as a vehicle for paying for education is at the center of the problem.

I am curious Margaret as to why you did not report on the Bush administration’s funding “No Child Left Behind” at twenty five cents on the dollar and what effect that had on less affluent and poor school districts. I for one would like to know if the Obama administration has restored funding to the schools.

With our nation crumbling from neglect I am aghast that we always find money for wars but not for health care, education, infrastructure(water, electric grid, renewable energy, etc…) and the environment.