Brouhaha in CA

Laurie Davison ldavison at
Wed Feb 4 13:50:40 EST 1998

   I'm new to this group, but have some strong feelings regarding 
"science education" in general and would like to respond to this. First 
let me say that I am a researcher in the field of reproductive 
endocrinology (horse hormones:)). I am fairly recently out of my graduate 
program where not only was I a student, but I also had a teaching 
assistantship, so I feel I've had my hands in many parts of the 
educational process.
   I agree with Karen. There should be a balance here with the Nobel 
winners working alongside the educators. I am excited that this group of 
distinguishe scientists are willing to donate their time and expertise in 
setting better standards for k-12 and by all means I believe they should 
be involved! On the other hand, k-12 is composed of a group of kids all 
undergoing different developmental stages and their ability to comprehend 
and learn science is very dependant on these stages. The experts in this 
field are the educators. I feel very strongly that both groups of experts 
should come together in this process.
   As to "standards" education, I have mixed feelings. I do not believe 
that the k-12 standards for science education are well met in most 
schools. That is, I do not believe that most kids are learning enough 
science, or enough "quality" science. Many schools do a very good job of 
teaching science, but based on my experience teaching college freshmen, I 
was *appalled* at the lack of knowledge most had in very basic biological 
concepts. On this vein I feel that we need to set higher standards for 
kids. On the other hand, it must be recognized that in the case of 
science in particular (probably more so than other diciplines), the 
ammount of education is partially dependant upon expensive equipment such 
as microscopes, glassware, cadavers(frogs), etc for biology and expensive 
reagents for chemistry. Also, the ammount of money each school gets may 
be dependant upon the area that school is in (sociological perspective 
here: the suburban white kids are given priority over rural or urban 
black kids or kids from, say, appalachia (regardless of race). It is not 
fair to expect the same from all kids accross the board in my mind, for 
the same reasons that SAT scores may also be biased.
   I have more to say, but need to get to my lab!:) I welcome opinions...

Laurie Davison

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