New NRC Report on k-8 Science Education in the USA

Posted on September 23, 2006  Comments (0)

Major Changes Needed To Boost K-8 Science Achievement according to a report from the National Research Council (NRC):

First, students should know, use, and interpret scientific explanations of the natural world. Second, they should be able to generate and evaluate scientific evidence and explanations. Third, they should understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge. And finally, students’ work should include active participation in scientific collaboration and discussion. All K-8 education should offer students opportunities to engage in the four strands of science proficiency.

Related: posts on k-12 science and engineering educationReport Calls for Improvement in K-8 Science Education

I must say I think it is a stupid model to charge for pdf copies of a report when your goal is to change the education system. They claim they have knowledge that would improve education. They claim they want to improve education. So wouldn’t it make sense to make the material that they claim would improve education available as easily as possible? I can understand they need to make a profit if they were a private sector organization with a purpose to make money and to make money for authors. Private publishers may publish a book about improving education, or how to get rich quick, or how to diet that might happen to be helpful to others but the main (or at least very significant) purpose is to pay an author (and publisher).

The NRC describes themselves as existing to “provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter.” As such it strikes me as outdated thinking to sell pdf copies of the advice. I understand that in the days of publishing books they may have designed a system where they charged for the books in order to fund their work. In this day and age they need to adapt to the current world and provide the information as easily as possible and freely.

I believe the current conditions make finding such workable solutions possible. I am sure people tied to the old way of thinking can make all sorts of excuses for why they can’t adapt and their old ways of working are really the best. But those educators need to change because as we show in our report the world is changing and k-8 science educators need to adapt.

They do provide information available online but to allow you to download a pdf of the whole report they require payment of $67. This seems to me that this is the result of very outdated thinking. I think they should spend some time examining their own behavior. It is easy to tell other people what they should change (I should know since that is what I am doing here). It is more difficult to actually change yourself.

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