I subscribe to email updates form the online journal eSchool News and received one a few days ago. A main thrust of the article was the substandard state of current American science education. The second news byte raised my hackles! I commented on the page of the journal itself but that may have about a wide a reading as my blog, not very far!

The article was attempting t obe upbeat and informative about new science products available for teachers to help their students meet the new science literacy requirements in the USA. Thats fine and dandy other than it can lead to a great deal of teaching to the test. Teaching to the test misses the forest for the trees and is the worst aspect of the grading process. But I digress.

What really bothered me about the article were a few quotes and between the line implications.
First: This quote:

“Teaching science is a unique challenge, because science is content-based—not skill-based—and science vocabulary is technical,” said Cathy Sump, Curriculum Advantage’s director of product marketing. http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=53030;_hbguid=78efa04e-1830-4420-9e8e-983cb81

shows a complete lack of understanding of the science process. I can only assume this science product company does not require their product managers to understand science. It alone highlights the need to perpetuate science education throughout our lives. When science education fails we produce managers or elementary school educators who are so ignorant of the scientific process they perpetuate their ignorance. It spreads like a virus.

Second: Between the lines of the article we see that these peddlers are attempting to, and they speak highly of it, using media industry produced and owned material for science education. There is an inherent danger in this. Media controlled productions can be filtered, editted and biased to perpetuate, establish, produce, whatever you want to call it, opinions about science or science content. I cannot help but think of the ‘evolutionary wars’ currently being fought in different school boards across the USA. We need to be educating our students to use a wide variety of sources. They need to be critical of these sources and compare and contrast them. These critical analaysis skills are of prime importance throughout life, not just in science. We are cponstantly being bombarded by media tainted, governmentally controlled images, ideas and opinions. we, as individuals and a society MUST be able to think for ourselves. Having multiple sources of information is a must!! The article clearly indicates NBC, American Education Corp and McGraw-Hill are peddling products for corporate profits. These are not the types of sources of information I’d rely on as independently.

Lastly: Here is the last thing that caught my eye and worries me:

Education Science for Elementary transforms the way elementary school educators teach science,” said Tracie Belt, an educator at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Fla. “Instead of spending time going between different resources to find the appropriate materials for [their] students, teachers can now go to one central place and find digital content that helps students learn key concepts and encourages additional interest in the sciences.” ibid.

Wait a second! Isn’t the research process of finding information, and the associated skills of critiqing the sources of information, a vital education process? In fact a vital life skill? One central place. Thats just fantastic! First we want to acquire our information all from media sources then we want to eliminate the need for more than one.

See the dangers?

I LOVE the digital age, but lets teach our students to use it wisely, responsibly, smartly. We cannot sell our education to the lowest corporate peddler of products.

Top News – Testing rules prompt new science products