Science Education

Apparently, things are not going well in the land of science education. Depending on grade level, somewhere between 28 and 40 percent of American students lack basic competence with scientific concepts.

I suppose this is what happens when we tell science teachers to shut the hell up and help prep the kids for their standardized reading and math tests.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/25/AR2011012506976.html

10 Responses to “Science Education”

  1. Pitt says:

    Well, matt, clearly what we need are standardized science tests. And, while we’re at it, standardized art and music tests, too. Because nothing ensures proper learning of subjects like rote memorization and specification of pedagogical methods.

  2. matt says:

    The world of the future needs more inflexible thinkers.

    Wait, the world of the future is going to have jobs-until-retirement and assembly lines again, right?

  3. matt says:

    I really wish I could find the quote. A member of the Chinese Ministry of Education was talking with an American school superintendent, and said [paraphrased, obviously]”We are tearing down our model of rote instruction and trying to make our students more flexible and creative, and at the same time, America is rushing to implement the system we’re getting rid of.”

  4. Pitt says:

    If we stay on this track, in another 100 years we’ll be the world’s source for cheap labor.

  5. Dan says:

    My brother’s a high school physics teacher, and he’s started doing seminars where he is effectively teaching teachers how to teach. Pretty cool. So, almost jokingly, his superintendent asked him how to “magically” fix the science education system, or education as a whole, seemingly overnight.

    His response:
    – Give 80% of the attention to math and proper use of the English language when the students are young. All other areas of study, even hard science, require a base education in math and the ability to communicate with your peers.
    – Get rid of teacher’s unions, thus making teachers much easier to fire.
    – Take the money saved from liquidating teacher’s unions and use it to pay teachers more.

    Basically he boiled it down to say, “Make me easier to fire and pay me more. It’s called incentive. And give me students that can understand what the fuck I’m talking about, both mathematically and in plain English.”

    Of course art teachers and history teachers and foreign language teachers and everybody would sue sue sue and it would be a fireball. But aside from laying off people who are, frankly, not doing their job very well…I don’t see a downside. In fact, if we were ever actually interested in looking at the long-term, it’d be a fantastic set of moves.

  6. matt says:

    And at the college level, offer green cards to immigrants who graduate with science and engineering degrees. It is ri-goddamn-diculous that we spend thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars educating international students at a public university, and then boot them out to build up the economy of their home country.

  7. matt says:

    A new study indicates that SIXTY PERCENT of high school biology teachers fail to address evolution in any way in class. Roughly 25% present it factually. 15% give classroom time to “intelligent design”.

    Jesus wept. No wonder the students in this country are sciencetarded.

  8. BrianN says:

    @Matt

    I think a problem even bigger than creationism is an overwhelming misunderstanding of teleology.

    The statement that best describes it was from one of my grad school professors: “I could argue that I have a nose to hold up my glasses.”

    Even among biologists, those who haven’t studied it specifically often get confused, because, well, it’s pretty confusing.

  9. Dan says:

    Re: the above
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41313808/ns/technology_and_science-science/

    Bible literalists make me want to eat my own foot. My favorite thing to do is have this conversation:
    Me: So, you believe that every word of the Bible is true?
    BL: Every word.
    Me: There are zero errors whatsoever, right?
    BL: It is all absolutely true.
    Me: Then how come Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 tell two entirely different stories about how the Earth was created?
    BL: *blank stare* …well not every word…

  10. BrianN says:

    The thing is that I think part of the reason some teachers are afraid of addressing evolution is that they don’t feel confident enough to respond to a well versed creationist student. Many of these students are very well versed in a set of flawed, but not obviously wrong arguments. Meanwhile, even most well educated science teacher’s concepts of evolution involve descriptions of human behavior originating from running away from lions and eating peach pits and all sorts of other nonsense.

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