Synopsis of Symposium Presentations
The Need for Scientifically Literate Teachers
Bruce Alberts,President, National Academy of Sciences
Science should be a core subject—not an add-on—in every year of school, starting in kindergarten. Science must be for all students, not just to produce scientists but to produce citizens who can find jobs and can be effective in their personal lives. Science cannot be taught as words to be memorized from textbooks and then tested on multiple choice exams. Science must be taught as inquiry-based learning, with hands-on, problem-solving exercises.
We have to rethink how we prepare teachers. Science and mathematics teachers need pedagogy that is subject matter specific, not general. In many cases, our existing programs teach things that teachers do not need and do not teach things that they do need.
Opening Remarks at the symposium focused participants on the vision of science for all, the reality of state and federal policies and programs, and the need for collaboration to bring about change in those policies, programs, and practice.
The Need for Reform in State Policy
William Randall,Commissioner, Colorado Department of Education; President, Council of Chief State School Officers
Keep in mind that in the United States the state is the focus for education, not the federal government. It is very important that anything we talk about doing, we talk about in the framework of how the states are organized and how they are trying to link the science education in the K-12 system with both undergraduate and graduate programs so that we can have science teacher quality in all our classrooms. It is time to start breaking down the old structures and artificial barriers that now exist in the states, the universities, and the schools.