Yesterday marked the 100th day of President Obama’s administration. Over the years, this day has emerged as an important first indicator of a new administration; their goals, their values, and their focus.
In that spirit, we thought that a 100 day check in about the status of science education would be appropriate. Here are three speeches that are indicative of the energy that is emerging on behalf of elementary science at the moment.
A New Commitment to Science
“Science is more essential than ever before…”
President Obama spoke at the 146th annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.
Stating that “science is more essential than ever before” for the nation’s well being, the president committed a new level of focus to science, mathematics, and technology in the United States.
He announced a new President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, pledged to increase science and research funding to the levels equal to those during the space race — essentially 3 percent of the gross domestic product, as well as other initiatives.
Most importantly for those of us in science education, he also announced, “that states making strong commitments and progress in math and science education will be eligible to compete later this fall for additional funds under the Secretary of Education’s $5 billion Race to the Top program.”
Please do, it’s well worth it!
Arne Duncan at NSTA New Orleans
“The perfect storm for reform…”
“Science education is central to our broader effort to restore American leadership in education worldwide,” he stated, offering up stark figures on thDuncan NSTAe standing of U.S. education in the “science race.”
He challenged science teachers to “make inquiry-based science relevant to kids, stimulate their curiosity, connect it with their lives,” continuing, “together, we need to change the national dialogue about science, to prepare our kids to be both honestly critical and technically competent.”
Promised funding resources include:
- Percentage of the $100 billion in new educational funding
- $650 million for educational technology grants
- $5 billion in “Race to the Top” funds for schools bringing the most extensive reforms to life
Making the Case for Elementary Science
“Revolutionize how science is taught and learned…”
Along with Bill Nye The Science Guy, former NSTA President and Elementary Science Coalition Academic Advisory Board Chair Harold Pratt spoke in early March to the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science on the importance of strong science education for elementary students.
He talked about NSF research that has demonstrated that children grasp complex concepts earlier than we’d thought and the implications that has on how science is taught to young children, about the importance of science education beginning in the early elementary years, the deep need for more professional development for science teachers, how to improve assessments, and more.