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In order to compete in the modern world, any society today must rank education in science, mathematics, and technology as one of its highest priorities. It's a sad but true fact, however, that most Americans are not scientifically literate. International studies of educational performance reveal that U.S. students consistently rank near the bottom in science and mathematics. The latest study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress has found that despite some small gains recently, the average performance of seventeen-year-olds in 1986 remained substantially lower than it had been in 1969. As the world approaches the twenty-first century, American schools-- when it comes to the advancement of scientific knowledge-- seem to be stuck in the Victorian age. In Science for All Americans, F. James Rutherford and Andrew Ahlgren brilliantly tackle this devastating problem. Based on Project 2061, a scientific literacy initiative sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this wide-ranging, important volume explores what constitutes scientific literacy in a modern society; the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all students should acquire from their total school experience from kindergarten through high school; and what steps this country must take to begin reforming its system of education in science, mathematics, and technology. Science for All Americans describes the scientifically literate person as one who knows that science, mathematics, and technology are interdependent enterprises with strengths and limitations; who understands key concepts and principles of science; who recognizes both the diversity and unity of the natural world; and who uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for personal and social purposes. Its recommendations for educational reform downplay traditional subject categories and instead highlight the connections between them. It also emphasizes ideas and thinking skills over the memorization of specialized vocabulary. For instance, basic scientific literacy means knowing that the chief function of living cells is assembling protein molecules according to the instructions coded in DNA molecules, but does not mean necessarily knowing the terms "ribosome" or "deoxyribonucleic acid." Science, mathematics, and technology will be at the center of the radical changes in the nature of human existence that will occur during the next life span; therefore, preparing today's children for tomorrow's world must entail a solid education in these areas. Science for All Americans will help pave the way for the necessary reforms in America's schools.
In order to compete in the modern world, any society today must rank education in science, mathematics, and technology as one of its highest priorities. It's a sad but true fact, however, that most Americans are not scientifically literate. International studies of educational performance reveal that U.S. students consistently rank near the bottom in science and mathematics. The latest study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress has found that despite some small gains recently, the average performance of seventeen-year-olds in 1986 remained substantially lower than it had been in 1969. As the world approaches the twenty-first century, American schools-- when it comes to the advancement of scientific knowledge-- seem to be stuck in the Victorian age. In Science for All Americans, F. James Rutherford and Andrew Ahlgren brilliantly tackle this devastating problem. Based on Project 2061, a scientific literacy initiative sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this wide-ranging, important volume explores what constitutes scientific literacy in a modern society; the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all students should acquire from their total school experience from kindergarten through high school; and what steps this country must take to begin reforming its system of education in science, mathematics, and technology. Science for All Americans describes the scientifically literate person as one who knows that science, mathematics, and technology are interdependent enterprises with strengths and limitations; who understands key concepts and principles of science; who recognizes both the diversity and unity of the natural world; and who uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for personal and social purposes. Its recommendations for educational reform downplay traditional subject categories and instead highlight the connections between them. It also emphasizes ideas and thinking skills over the memorization of specialized vocabulary. For instance, basic scientific literacy means knowing that the chief function of living cells is assembling protein molecules according to the instructions coded in DNA molecules, but does not mean necessarily knowing the terms "ribosome" or "deoxyribonucleic acid." Science, mathematics, and technology will be at the center of the radical changes in the nature of human existence that will occur during the next life span; therefore, preparing today's children for tomorrow's world must entail a solid education in these areas. Science for All Americans will help pave the way for the necessary reforms in America's schools.
In order to compete in the modern world, any society today must rank education in science, mathematics, and technology as one of its highest priorities. It's a sad but true fact, however, that most Americans are not scientifically literate. International studies of educational performance reveal that U.S. students consistently rank near the bottom in science and mathematics. The latest study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress has found that despite some small gains recently, the average performance of seventeen-year-olds in 1986 remained substantially lower than it had been in 1969. As the world approaches the twenty-first century, American schools--when it comes to the advancement of scientific knowledge--seem to be stuck in the Victorian age.In Science for All Americans, F. James Rutherford and Andrew Ahlgren brilliantly tackle this devastating problem. Based on Project 2061, a scientific literacy initiative sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this wide-ranging, important volume explores what constitutes scientific literacy in a modern society; the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all students should acquire from their total school experience from kindergarten through high school; and what steps this country must take to begin reforming its system of education in science, mathematics, and technology.Science for All Americans describes the scientifically literate person as one who knows that science, mathematics, and technology are interdependent enterprises with strengths and limitations; who understands key concepts and principles of science; who recognizes both the diversity and unity of the natural world; and who uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for personal and social purposes. Its recommendations for educational reform downplay traditional subject categories and instead highlight the connections between them. It also emphasizes ideas and thinking skills over the memorization of specialized vocabulary. For instance, basic scientific literacy means knowing that the chief function of living cells is assembling protein molecules according to the instructions coded in DNA molecules, but does not mean necessarily knowing the terms "ribosome" or "deoxyribonucleic acid."Science, mathematics, and technology will be at the center of the radical changes in the nature of human existence that will occur during the next life span; therefore, preparing today's children for tomorrow's world must entail a solid education in these areas. Science for All Americans will help pave the way for the necessary reforms in America's schools.
This is an overview report that has been prepared as part of the first phase of Project 2061, a long-term multipurpose undertaking of the American Association for the Advancement of Science designed to help reform science, mathematics, and technology education in the United States. The first section, "Education for a Changing Future," discusses the need for scientific literacy, the current situation, and the three phases of this project. The second section, "Recommendations of the National Council," contains 12 chapters: (1) "The Nature of Science"; (2) "The Nature of Mathematics"; (3) "The Nature of Technology"; (4) "The Physical Setting"; (5) "The Living Environment"; (6) "The Human Organism"; (7) "Human Society"; (8) "The Designed World" (discussing the areas of technology); (9) "The Mathematical World"; (10) "Historical Perspectives" (including 10 episodes in the history of the scientific endeavor); (11) "Common Themes" (describing systems, models, constancy, patterns of change, evolution and scale); and (12) "Habits of Mind" (dealing with values, attitudes, and skills). The final section, "Bridges to the Future," suggests methods of effective learning, teaching, and educational reform. Appendices include a list of Phase I participants and selected references. (YP)
Published to glowing praise in 1990, Science for All Americans defined the science-literate American--describing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all students should retain from their learning experience--and offered a series of recommendations for reforming our system of education in science, mathematics, and technology. Benchmarks for Science Literacy takes this one step further. Created in close consultation with a cross-section of American teachers, administrators, and scientists, Benchmarks elaborates on the recommendations to provide guidelines for what all students should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology by the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. These grade levels offer reasonable checkpoints for student progress toward science literacy, but do not suggest a rigid formula for teaching. Benchmarks is not a proposed curriculum, nor is it a plan for one: it is a tool educators can use as they design curricula that fit their student's needs and meet the goals first outlined in Science for All Americans. Far from pressing for a single educational program, Project 2061 advocates a reform strategy that will lead to more curriculum diversity than is common today. IBenchmarks emerged from the work of six diverse school-district teams who were asked to rethink the K-12 curriculum and outline alternative ways of achieving science literacy for all students. These teams based their work on published research and the continuing advice of prominent educators, as well as their own teaching experience. Focusing on the understanding and interconnection of key concepts rather than rote memorization of terms and isolated facts, Benchmarks advocates building a lasting understanding of science and related fields. In a culture increasingly pervaded by science, mathematics, and technology, science literacy require habits of mind that will enable citizens to understand the world around them, make some sense of new technologies as they emerge and grow, and deal sensibly with problems that involve evidence, numbers, patterns, logical arguments, and technology--as well as the relationship of these disciplines to the arts, humanities, and vocational sciences--making science literacy relevant to all students, regardless of their career paths. If Americans are to participate in a world shaped by modern science and mathematics, a world where technological know-how will offer the keys to economic and political stability in the twenty-first century, education in these areas must become one of the nation's highest priorities. Together with Science for All Americans, Benchmarks for Science Literacy offers a bold new agenda for the future of science education in this country, one that is certain to prepare our children for life in the twenty-first century.

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