Californians Say Science Education Should be a Priority for Schools
Californians believe that science education should be a priority for the state’s schools and want it to be taught early and more often, according to new public opinion research released today by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning and its partners in the Strengthening Science Education in California Initiative. To strengthen science education, the public wants schools to have the labs and equipment they need, strongly supports providing teachers with specialized training and wants schools to spend more time teaching science.
“This new research clearly shows the state’s residents place a high value on science education, ranking the subject right up with reading, writing and mathematics in terms of priorities for schools,” said Nancy Belden, the lead researcher for the report. “In their view, knowledge and understanding of science are essential to keeping California and America at the forefront of technology and innovation, and essential to young people as they prepare for the future.”
The report, A Priority for California’s Future: Science for Students is based on a telephone survey of 1004 adults in California.. Key findings include:
• Californians believe that science education is key to the future of the state. Three quarters say science should be a higher priority for California schools because it keeps both America and California at the forefront of technology and innovation.
• Science education should be a priority for California’s schools. Nearly nine out of ten surveyed say it is very important or essential for California public schools to give all students a strong background in science;
• Science education should start early. Seven in ten say that learning science should begin in elementary school in order for students to succeed in high school; and
• Science should be taught to all students. Two-thirds of Californians say all high school students should be required to study biology, chemistry and physics.
“Californians understand the importance of science education and want it to be a priority for the state’s schools,” says Margaret Gaston, Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. “We hope the state’s policymakers and educators will consider the public’s interests as decisions are made that impact science education in California’s schools and classrooms.”
The survey was conducted as a part of Strengthening Science Education in California. Partners in this initiative include the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, SRI International, Belden Russonello & Stewart, Stone’s Throw Communications and Inverness Research Associates. Funding was provided by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. The report and summary materials are available at www.cftl.org.
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