Saturday, May 03, 2008
Learning More Than Science
Wes Elsberry has a good history of the fight for proper science education in Florida that, unfortunately, people in many states, including Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, and Louisiana, may need to study for their own battles:
Back in 2005, Florida hired Cheri Pierson Yecke as its K-12 Chancellor, the second highest post in the Department of Education. Yecke had gotten the boot in Minnesota after presiding over a contentious round of updating that state's science standards. That event spurred me into action. I verified that there was no existing Citizens for Science group there and set about getting one organized. The resulting Florida Citizens for Science organization took on a big challenge, to organize and coordinate the effort to bring excellent science standards to Florida, without fear of saying "evolution". The previous Sunshine Standards entirely omitted the word "evolution", choosing instead euphemistic and flabby phrasing.
Florida Citizens for Science were helped along by a one-year delay in the science standards process. This gave the group time to organize and to invest in putting together a draft set of standards based on excellent examples from around the country.
The sustained level of effort paid off well, as earlier this year the Department of Education met to consider adopting the standards put together by a framing and writing committee, called "world-class" by various organizations and reviewers.