Science for All Americans

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9780195067705: Science for All Americans

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.

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About the Author:


F. James Rutherford is Chief Education Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Director of Project 2061: Education for a Changing Future. He is the co-editor (with Margrete S. Klein) of Science Education in Global Perspective.

Andrew Ahlgren was Associate Director of Project 2061 and co-author (with Dr. Franz Halberg) of Cycles of Nature: An Introduction to Biological Rhythms.

Review:

"This text should be read by all pre-service and in service teachers, no matter what their major discipline. The content is relevant, readable, and addresses the issues that must be included in our science programs at all levels. If only current science texts were as succinct I am certain
students would want to consider science and science-related courses."--Norman E. Dee, Lesley College

"The content of the text follows the title beautifully."--James M. Migaki, Washington State University

"Very good source for promoting thinking about the present and future of science in American society."--Duane Inman, Ph.D., Northwestern State University

"Excellent overview of issues for graduate students."--Dr. Catherine Commins, Louisiana State University

"An outline for comprehensive reform of science education that is based on a sound conceptual base." --Gerald Skoog, Texas Tech University

"Very readable."--Leo R. Finkenbinder, Southern Nazarene University

"Provides the type of background information needed by non-science majors who wish to teach. The principles and concepts discussed in this book form the information both parents and teachers should have. I would recommend this resource to beginning teachers, parents, older individuals who
change careers to enter teaching, and others."--Marjorie W. Lee, Howard University

"Very clearly written....It provides an understandable rationale for scientific literacy but also provides clear, identifiable standards for teaching." --Reene Alley, College of Education, University of Akron

"An excellent presentation of basic science that should be required reading for all candidates for a teaching credential. It is clear, concise, and readable. Congratulations."--Walter F. Marshall, Point Loma Nazarene College

"A comprehensive report on how to reform the U.S. education system to provide students with adequate training in science, mathematics and technology. The authors focus on Project 2061, an initiative sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to increase children's
scientific literacy and prepare them for the world that will exist when Halley's Comet returns in 2061. Includes recommendations about what future generations should know in these areas as well as specific reform suggestions."--Science News

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Rutherford, F. James, Ahlgren, Andrew
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