There is no Science Blog category for Education, so I’ve labeled this “Business and Economy,” which are two areas that are bound to suffer in the next several decades if we don’t do anything to reverse the disastrous direction that our education has taken under the misguided “No Child Left Behind” mantra.
In a brilliant commentary entitled, “I’m a Public School Dropout” in my hometown paper, Esther Mellinger Stief describes why at age 35, she has quit her teaching job in the public schools. According to the sub-headline, Ms. Stief “loves to teach, to guide the growth of young minds[, but] she doesn’t love training students to take the latest mandated standards test.”
Real education, i.e. the process of learning to think critically, suffers from the increasing trend toward teaching to the test, and no subject suffers more than science. Ms. Stief’s comments are a clear indication that we are not only losing our next generation of students, but we are also losing the teachers who really care about critical thinking in all areas.
In our eagerness to create “competence,” we are emphasizing sameness and mediocrity. We are damaging the best of our public schools. I am a proud product of a public school education, and I benefited from the post-Sputnik reforms in science education that are now disappearing. We are leaving every child behind — especially in science. It is time to act!
Please spread the word about Ms. Stief’s important article. Let’s get her on talk shows across the country now!