We think so.
At a time when key problems like climate change and vaccine hesitancy call for more citizens to be scientifically literate, we need to change the way science is taught in American schools. Influential national science education standards called the Next Generation Science Standards (the NGSS) can be improved to better meet the needs of young people in a democratic society.
In a discussion white paper on this website we identify four areas in which we believe national science education standards for grades K-12 can and should be improved:
- Include scientific misinformation as a topic for students to study;
- Teach about the key role of scientific institutions in science (e.g., the CDC, the IPCC, the FDA);
- Broaden the view of “scientific literacy” embodied in the standards; and,
- Provide more information for teachers about key principles of teaching and learning.
Read the white paper about important “missing pieces” in the Next Generation Science Standards, and how the standards can be improved, then join the conversation on our blog. On the blog page you can request emails to notify you whenever there is a new post.
The National Academy of Sciences created a committee to author “a call to action for science education.” Three of us submitted a memo recommending that policymakers promptly and clearly identify preparing students for civic life as a major goal for science education, in addition to preparing students for college and careers. Continue reading
Teaching a little of the history of science will help students understand the nature of science. A good example is to teach about Galileo or Lysenko in order to illustrate the destructive effect of allowing ideology to undermine real science. Unfortunately, standards do not suggest the history of science is important to teach. Continue reading
Developing students’ “scientific literacy” should be the main goal of K-12 science education. But what is scientific literacy, and how well does the NGSS describe it? We argue that the NGSS falls short, leaving out important aspects of scientific literacy as identified by experts. Continue reading