Setting aside the anti-science nonsense brewing in the Florida senate for a moment, let’s think about the future. The new state science standards are approved. It’s time for schools statewide to think about how to best implement them. The Bradenton Herald has a story on this subject.
Now that the excitement over the teaching of evolution has peaked, educators statewide are hunkering down to figure out how to incorporate the state’s new science standards in the classroom.
That is going to take some work, both for students and teachers – after teachers digest the new requirements and the school district figure out how to pay for the upgrade of many of its science lab equipment.
The new standards will require more in-depth work involving labs. Labs mean lab equipment. Lab equipment means money.
“Our labs situation in Manatee is abominable. It’s a horrible budget time to be recognizing this,” she [Jane Pfeilsticker, a Manatee County school board member who helped write the new standards] said. “We will need to be partnering with the business community to build up our lab equipment.”
Some of the microscopes are 30 years old and are outdated. Microscopes of the future will be wired to computers, she said.
With this in mind, it’s exciting to see that the experts who wrote our new science standards didn’t just walk away when the work was done. The writers and framers sent a letter to education commissioner Dr. Eric Smith, as well as state board of education members and state legislators. You can read the full letter here. Some suggested action items from the letter:
4. Establish a permanent panel of scientists, business leaders and educator-leaders that advise the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education on science education issues.
5. Support the development and adoption of research-based instructional materials, including laboratories and authentic field experiences.
6. Commit at least $100 million per year to professional development of science teachers that is based on the best research about how students learn this subject.
Of course, the writers/framers know full well that the state is in financial trouble. But investing now will pay off later, they say.
So, should the state legislature waste time on an “academic freedom act” or do some real work?