In the almost 15 years since I’ve graduated from high school I’ve notice the major changes in how children are educated. I feel like I’m not old enough to be say when I was a kid things were different, but I’m saying that on a regular basis. When I was a child, parents and educators seemed to work together more to provide a quality education for children. There were learning experiences both at home and in school. I have memories of conducting science experiments both at home and in school as early as elementary school. However, I am realizing that kids today don’t have the same opportunity that I did during my K-12 education.
All students don’t have an equal opportunity to have a great science educational experience. I have been spending time in schools and am realizing that kids aren’t engaged in enough hands on science or science that is relevant to them that make them interested in science. I was having a conversation with a 5th grader and he was talking about what he learned in science class that day. What they learned bored me to death, they were talking about a scientist that is dead and technology that is obsolete. I know that science history is an important part of science, but kids should be learning something that is relevant and current and about scientists that are alive today. But thing that I was grateful was that at least this student was learning science. I’m always curious how the state science and mathematics standards are chosen. Is the curriculum team made up of a diversity of math and science educators and professionals? Do they select the material based that provide the students with a strong foundation as well as engage them in the subjects? Do they select a curriculum that all school districts will be able to implement, including those districts and schools with limited resources? Do they consider if the curriculum is academically preparing them for post secondary education and pursuing careers in these subjects? I believe that a strong curriculum should include all these elements to ensure the academic success of our children in math and science.
In addition, most state curriculum the core subjects are language arts, math, social studies and science. However the priority of instructional time in our schools, especially in elementary school isn’t always focused on equal preparation in all subject areas. There are studies that show that elementary students don’t always get an adequate amount of science as a part of their curriculum. There are various reasons for this; the main reason is that not enough resources are put into science education because science is rarely on the standardized test that has become a critical part of education. Another reason is not all elementary teachers feel comfortable enough to teach their students science. With elementary school being the foundation for learning in all subject areas, if there is no strong foundation for science how will kids excel when they go to middle and high school. This doesn’t create an environment for our kids to excel in science, let alone pursue careers in these fields.
In order for us to provide the best educational experience for our youth, we must hold the educational system accountable for ensuring that all subject areas have equal instructional time. We shouldn’t give more subject areas more instructional time simply because our students will be tested in those subjects. The best way we can hold them in accountable is to build a relationship with the educational system at all levels; the individual schools, school district and state department of education. We want to make sure that our children are academically prepared to enter the future workforce, which will be an educated workforce.