Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Critical Science Questions for Presidential Candidates

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

A group of fifty-six leading United States nonpartisan organizations, representing more than 10 million scientists and engineers, have called on U.S. Presidential candidates to address 20 major issues in science, engineering, technology, health and environment. In addition they ask journalists, the media and voters to press the candidates on these issues during the 2016 U. S. Presidential campaign.

The questions for the candidates are found here.

From Wikimedia Commons.
ScienceDebate.org, which was involved in the development of the questions has a petition that may you may sign, provided you agree with the questions.

Such issues were once included in an approach to K-12 science education known as Science-Technology-Society (STS).  STS is alive and well in college and university curricula and courses of study which a Google search will quickly reveal.

These kinds of issues have not been completely lost in science education. Since school students deal with some of the same issues in the questions suggested for presidential candidates it is not unreasonable to ask candidates to respond and suggest policy responses.

In an early iteration of standards for K-12 science education, the National Science Education Standards included specific standards in personal and social perspectives.

An overview of these standards are outlined in Chapter 6, Science Content Standards in the PDF linked above, starting on p. 103.  There are standards in personal and social perspectives for the three major grade bands: K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.

These grade band content standards are found following the introduction to content standards (Chapter 6): K-4, starting p. 121; 5-8, starting p. 143 and 9-12, starting p. 173.

The Minnesota Academic Standards, Grades K-12 (2009) organizes standards into four strands which include societal issues. The Nature of Science and Engineering includes the substrand, Interactions Among Science, Technology, Mathematics and Society; Physical Science includes the substrand Human Interactions with Physical Systems; Earth and Space Science includes the substrand, Human Interactions with Earth Systems; and Life Science includes the substrand, Human Interactions with Living Systems.

h/t: National Science Teachers Association (NSTA EXPRESS)

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