Florida State University physics professor Paul Cottle has an opinion piece in today’s Tallahassee Democrat: Science education takes a downward slide. It might give some state Department of Education folks a bit of heartburn.
A series of decisions at the state and district levels has eroded the dream of universal literacy in sciences. A student can now graduate from a Florida public or charter high school with no background in the Earth/space and physical sciences at the high-school level. And some middle schools have altered their academic programs so that many of their students are never exposed to the concepts of force, motion and energy.
It seems unlikely that Florida would explicitly delete science from the high-school graduation requirements, or drop the Science FCAT exams at the fifth- and eighth-grade levels. In the case of the FCAT Science exams, they are required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. One wonders whether that is all that is saving them.
But what is more likely is that the implicit prioritization of science in the state’s schools will continue to slowly decline, and the importance placed on high-quality science instruction will decline as well.