Opinion
Science Letter to the Editor

Science-Score Declines Have Impact Well Beyond the Classroom

June 10, 2021 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The news about low science scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress is disappointing on many levels, especially since it comes at a time of great social division in our country (“The Latest Science Scores Are Out. The News Isn’t Good for Schools,” May 25, 2021). While we have seen science deliver on vaccines and treatments in the pandemic, there has also been greater politicization of and skepticism about science fueled by a barrage of misinformation and conspiracy theories. All this can cause students to become disaffected learners of science.

The impact of remote learning this past year on science education has yet to be calculated. Even with educators’ best efforts and the plethora of online science programs (many of which are free), it is likely we will see further declines in science literacy, especially in communities where access to online learning has been difficult if not impossible. This is likely to further decrease the number of students of color coming into the STEM talent pipeline, which will have its own future repercussions.

Ensuring that students have a solid foundation in science is not just about encouraging young people to consider STEM-based careers. The scientific-discovery process helps to develop critical thinking and analytical skills that can be applied to any field of employment. Moreover, science understanding will help students to better interpret media coverage about science and make more informed decisions as voters.

Advances in science have given us the ability to cure disease, grow better food more sustainably, create new industries offering well-paying jobs, and explore the wonders of our universe. But the only way for science to continue delivering solutions for our collective well-being is if there is a diverse STEM talent pipeline to ensure it.

Nicholas B. Dirks
President & CEO
New York Academy of Sciences
New York, N.Y.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2021 edition of Education Week as Science-Score Declines Have Impact Well Beyond the Classroom

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Stronger Together: Integrating Social and Emotional Supports in an Equity-Based MTSS
Decades of research have shown that when schools implement evidence-based social and emotional supports and programming, academic achievement increases. The impact of these supports – particularly for students of color, students from low-income communities, English
Content provided by Illuminate Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Science Here's How to Make Science More Relevant for Students of Color
Students get more out of science class, these teachers say, when the lessons are linked to their own lives and communities.
5 min read
Chemistry teacher Nina Hike poses for a portrait in her classroom at George Westinghouse College Prep on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 in Chicago, IL. Through her curriculum, Hike highlights scientific discoveries by women and people of color, and also teaches students about environmental racism.
Chemistry teacher Nina Hike poses for a portrait in her classroom at George Westinghouse College Prep on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 in Chicago, IL. Through her curriculum, Hike highlights scientific discoveries by women and people of color, and also teaches students about environmental racism.
Taylor Glascock for Education Week
Science COVID-19 Is a Science Lesson Waiting to Happen
Teachers have more information about the virus now than in March 2020, but barriers remain to focusing on the pandemic in class.
8 min read
Conceptual illustration of sectioned off people studying a Covid-19 Virus
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Jorm Sangsorn/iStock
Science Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change: Why Some Teachers Focus on Solutions
Learning about climate change can make students feel anxious or hopeless. A solution-focused teaching approach gives them a reason for hope.
11 min read
Conceptual illustration of hand reaching into an atom and picking the planet earth
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Frances Coch/iStock
Science 5 Ways to Teach Climate Change and COVID-19 During Polarized Times
Rampant misinformation and politics have made science teachers' jobs harder. Teachers share five strategies to teach sensitive topics.
9 min read
Linda Rost, a finalist for the 2020 National Teacher of the Year and a high school science teacher, teaches at Baker High School in Baker, Mont. on Nov. 3, 2021.
Linda Rost teaches a science class at Baker High School in Baker, Mont., earlier this month. She has received some pushback for teaching about COVID-19.
Leslie Bohle for Education Week