on May 18, 2003
"When is science taught?..."
I don't know so much about this, but we have been told over the last
several years that Boeing, Microsoft, and former Immunex leaders would
continuously go back to Washington, D.C. year after year to up the
number of visas allowed to bring foreigners in to take the jobs we
cannot fill with our own people. It is good to bring talent into the
country, and businesses that are international need to hire
internationally, but I am getting the impression that perhaps we should
be filling some of these positions with our own.
Since I can remember, science was seen as something for only a few and
even a subject for nerdy types. It seems slowly over time we are
getting away from this through these different waves of reform. And,
the young children in our program now do not have that sense I thnk.
Almost all of them love science, and they see that all other children
can do science. I believe that it is when those who start with this
kind of guided inquiry at the kindergarten level and continue having it
in most of their K-12 years become the superintendents and other
leaders that science may get more quality time and recognition as a
core subject. (Right now most teachers and principals are convinced
that science instruction benefits children in multiple ways, but people
who are not in the classroom very much or at all still need
In the eleven years that I have been involved in science reform, I have
seen substantial change in how science is viewed but we probably need
another twenty years or more with the same intense level of work to be
where we want to be. (One scientist said to me it is not a twenty year
project, it is a forever project.)
Bill Schmidt (TIMSS study) focuses on the need for providing all
children with a common, coherent, rigorous curriculum. It struck me as
unusual that he focuses on curriculum when everyone else is focusing on
student conceptual understanding and instruction. The notion of
common, cohherent, and rigorous curriculum make a lot of sense. (In
the higher scoring TIMSS countries, they have that according to
Schmidt.) Also, the professional development needs to be added to
provide some level of common, coherent, and rigorous level of
implementation/instruction. He makes a lot of sense; more people
should listen to him and take heed. Such as, why is every district in
our country spending thousands and thousands of dollars on developing
their own standards; we are all trying to reinvent the wheel so often.
It is not cost effective!
I think these LSCs are helping us address some of Schmidt's concerns.
As long as science is taught during the school hours so that all
children receive it, then perhaps providing the common, coherent,
rigorous curriculum with support on how to teach the curriculum is a
good start to the big shift we need to make to allow science to be a