Brouhaha

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Fri Jan 30 20:22:55 EST 1998


Susan Forsburg wrote:

> From: Karen Allendoerfer <ravena at cco.caltech.edu>

(snip)

>>  It kind of bothers me to hear that
>> a group of scientists thinks that they can do it alone, better, for
>> free in their spare time, without the input of teachers or any
>> education professionals at all. It sounds somewhat arrogant although
>> I doubt they meant it that way.

>You seem awfully negative about scientists.  I agree that their
>position doesn't per se entitle them to set standards, but you seem to
>think that if anything, it renders them unsuitable!  

	Um, if you read carefully, that isn't what I said at all.  I was
arguing against the idea that it should be a "straight down" decision.
Maybe I misunderstood what Mary Ann meant by this.  I interpreted it to
mean that it was obvious what should be done and that any right-thinking
person would of course agree.  I'm sorry if I misunderstood.  To me, it
was not obvious.
	In this group in the past we've batted around the question of why
it seems that people in general and students in particular might be
alienated from science and/or intellectual pursuits.  I suggested then
that the attitude of some scientists, well-meaning though they may be,
might play some role in alienating non-scientists by coming across as
arrogant. My perception is that we may have a small example of this here,
although I don't equate outcome with intent.  I didn't say the intentions
were arrogant, only that it sounded that way.  
	I don't know enough about the "other side" to feel that it would
be appropriate for me to criticize their behavior.  My own
involvement in K-12 education has been limited to a couple of
teacher training sessions with the Caltech Pre-College Science
Initiative and participating in several meetings of the "science
education club" affiliated with this organization.  In that
program, cooperation and give-and-take between the scientists
and educators was a given.  In any case, I learned more from the
teachers in those training sessions, and more from the speakers
who came and spoke about the issues, than they ever learned from
me.  

>I think it was inappropriate of the other group to
>say something along the lines of "these scientists wouldn't know
>the inside of a classroom if it bit them". 

	I think it was inappropriate too.  But I'm not really sure
what that has to do with anything. I apologize if my comments
offended you as a scientist, but as a scientist myself, I think it more
appropriate for me to be concentrating on what could be improved on my
side, not on the other side.

>> It's too bad that the SDE had to treat this as an either/or type of
>> thing and possibly alienate the scientists, whom I'm sure had good
>> motivations here. Isn't there any way to keep both the scientists
>> and educators involved?

>That has been the solution:  both groups have been told to do
>it together.

Great!  Maybe there is hope after all.

Karen





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