Sputnik shot into orbit in 1957, Americans have considered science and
science education to be vital to our national security and economic
competitiveness. That imperative has continued
in the half century since the Soviet satellite launch. Indeed, a 2011
survey reports that 74 percent of Americans think STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Math) education is “very important,” while only two percent
say it’s “not too important.”
this strong conviction has not translated into strong science achievement. The
2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress found barely one-third of U.S.
fourth graders “proficient” in science, slipping to 30 percent in eighth grade,
and a woeful 21 percent in twelfth. International comparisons are even more
disheartening. The most recent PISA assessment, for example, showed American
fifteen-year-olds ranking a mediocre twenty-third out of sixty-five countries.
U.S. companies continue to send jobs overseas in no small part because they
cannot find enough Americans with the requisite STEM skills and knowledge.
it up and you should be alarmed, very alarmed. Seems the United States does a
great job of talking the talk about getting science education right but we’re a
long way from walking the walk.
Why? How can it be that Americans have voiced so much
concern about science education for such a long time yet made so little