Science and the USA

EducationWeekly has a short article about the fears of a technologist concerning the future of science education.

Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s former chief technology officer, is “fundamentally fearful” of a decline in science education in the US, especially in primary schools.

“I just fear for our long term competitiveness,” he said. “Education in the US is lousy and getting worse. We are on the way to being a second or third world country from [the point of view of] technology.”

Gelsinger is not alone. Others have pointed out the same cause for fear, noting that the proportion of graduate students from the US in US schools has been declining. There are a number of warning signs which simply have not made an impact on policy.

The push to change the definition of science in science classrooms to a “theistic science” will be a huge aid in making the US a science and technology backwater. If we want to have a chance at continuing to be a science powerhouse in the world, we need to be clear about what is — and is not — science. Current pedagogy already has plenty of problems with confusing the students. Adding politically defined science to science classrooms has a history of making a difference. It led to widespread hunger and economic deprivation under Lysenko in the former Soviet Union, hastening the downfall of that regime. And now we have a widespread, well-funded movement in the US trying to make us the next object lesson in what comes of inserting politically mandated “science” into the science classrooms.

As the former administration famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The socio-political controversy over science content isn’t academic; it has a direct bearing on the ability of future workers and researchers to utilize science and technology, and to make sense of an increasingly technology-dependent world.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

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