Report on Florida Citizens for Science
(This report is from Florida Citizens for Science president, Joe Wolf) The recent State of the Union Message reminds us that I need to make a report to you on the state of Florida Citizens for Science.
What we have done in 2006
Florida Citizens for Science was established in 2006. A governing board was elected, officers were chosen, bylaws were created and approved, and a strategic plan was developed. We have brochures, a logo, a website, and a bank account. With that important work behind us now, it’s time to look forward to the year ahead.
Science standards review
We started work on a new set of public school science standards last year and now we need to do some last bits of polishing before presenting them to the Department of Education at the appropriate time. These draft standards are looking very good. We presented an early draft to a think tank working on science education in Florida where it was well received.
Plans for 2007 and needs
Science standards review
Participating in this review of the state science standards will be one of our most prominent tasks this year. Besides presenting our own standards draft, we are also recruiting qualified people to apply for a seat on the Department of Education’s review committee. If you want to play a role in these efforts, please speak up and we’ll put you to work. We are going to trust that our government will do the right thing, but we also stand ready to take action if things take a turn for the worst. We’re going to need your voices if we have any hope of making enough noise to make a difference.
At the end of last year the board was working on hosting an essay contest for school children with a prize being a trip to the weeklong NASA space camp. We had received a donation to cover the prize expense. However, we determined that the timing wasn’t right and we weren’t ready to successfully launch the contest. We will continue planning it, though, and have it ready for the next school year. We are also on the lookout for any other opportunities to promote science education. Please pass along any ideas you may have.
Surveying the membership/encouraging involvement
One important goal of 2007 will be growing the membership and encouraging involvement. We know that without a major controversy to launch people into action, most people interested in Florida Citizens for Science prefer to stay low key. However, we want to make sure we are ready for any future headline-making events. Creationists are working both publicly and privately to advance their agenda. Some of their work is on the state level but much is also on the local level. In order to counter their activities, we need to know the basics concerning who you are and where you are. Too much time could be wasted doing this homework right in the middle of a public debate. With your help, we can develop and maintain a Florida Citizens for Science network that is ready to jump into action as soon as trouble appears. It’s also important to have this network in place so that little sparks in any spot in the state can be quickly discovered and handled rather than catch us unawares. The bottom line is that we need you. Without an active membership Florida Citizens for Science can’t be effective. In the near future we will sending out a survey for you to complete. This information will be strictly for internal use and not shared with anyone.
Recruiting new members
We also are asking that you spread the word about Florida Citizens for Science. Mention the organization to anyone who might have in interest in our stance and goals. Direct them to our website and encourage them to at least join our network, even if they don’t want to be a dues-paying member. The more people we have out there, the greater the strength we can bring to bear on any problems across the state.
It’s time to collect annual dues. Dues are $20 and are negotiable for anyone with financial hardships. You can still be a part of our network without paying dues; however, paying dues gives you a stronger say in the direction of Florida Citizens for Science. You can vote for board members and even run for a seat yourself. To pay dues, send a check made out to Florida Citizens for Science to our treasurer Pete Dunkelberg (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get the address, please), or use the Paypal link on our website (you can pay with a credit/debit card and don’t have to have your own Paypal account). Dues will be used to fund things like costs associated with projects such as the science standards review (making copies, travel, etc.), maintaining the website, or hosting the annual membership meeting.
Besides dues, we also gladly accept donations. As mentioned below, we would like to fund projects that show our commitment to science education while getting the Florida Citizens for Science name out there. We are currently working on establishing our organization as tax exempt.
Visit the blog
Be sure to visit our blog throughout the week. It’s regularly updated with news items related to Florida science or science education. Feel free to send any interesting tips to Brandon at email@example.com for posting consideration. Also, any major controversies that crop up will be posted as an “alert” to the blog.
Florida Citizens for Science