Eliminating NSF Program to Aid K-12 Science Education

Posted on October 24, 2011  Comments (2)

Changing American science and engineering education

In exchange for funding for their graduate studies, Kahler and other fellows contribute to the science curriculum in local primary and secondary schools from kindergarten through grade 12. Kahler taught science at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham.

He also taught for two summers in India, and in Texas, as part of Duke TIP, the Talent Identification Program, which identifies academically gifted students and provides them with intellectually stimulating opportunities.

Through these teaching experiences in different locations and cultures, Kahler observed several factors that affect the quality of education in American schools. One important factor is the training of teachers. Unfortunately, teachers are sometimes expected to teach science without having received an adequate background in the subject.

STEM fellows helped to address this problem by contributing their expertise and by helping to increase the scientific literacy of students and their teachers.

Kahler says that NSF GK-12 has a strong, positive impact to change this because it simultaneously improves the educational experience of students in primary and secondary school and trains graduate students to communicate and teach effectively.

Unfortunately, the NSF GK-12 program is no longer in the NSF budget for 2012.

Sadly the USA is choosing to speed money on things that are likely much less worthwhile to our future economic well being. This has been a continuing trend for the last few decades so it is not a surprise that the USA is investing less and less in science and engineering education while other countries are adding substantially to their investments (China, Singapore, Korea, India…).

As I have stated before I think the USA is making a big mistake reducing the investment in science and engineering, especially when so many other countries have figured how how smart such investments are. The USA has enjoyed huge advantages economically from science and engineering leadership and will continue to. But the potential full economic advantages are being reduced by our decisions to turn away from science investment (in education and other ways).

Related: The Importance of Science EducationTop Countries for Science and Math Education: Finland, Hong Kong and KoreaEconomic Strength Through Technology Leadership

2 Responses to “Eliminating NSF Program to Aid K-12 Science Education”

  1. Zac Coplan
    October 26th, 2011 @ 2:47 am

    There is nothing more important than investing in our educational system. Not defense spending, not fighting wars, not infrastructure. I have no idea why this always seems to come last.

  2. John
    October 28th, 2011 @ 7:52 am


    I don’t agree with that. We actually need to invest more in things that matter. Yes, educational systems are part of that. But I think our health is also important. And a lot of other things. And there is also an difference between investing in educatinal systems, and In WHICH ones. I don’t believe in schools as they are now.

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