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Making Science Education a National Priority

Posted on 2021-12-09

Making Science Education a National Priority

Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future

We must work together to make science education a national priority.

This statement is the core of a recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) that details the challenges many schools and teachers face, outlines a compelling vision for science education, and urges policymakers to elevate the status of science education by focusing resources on and helping communities make the changes necessary to ensure all students have access to quality science instruction. The key takeaway from the report is that educators are the engines of better, more equitable science education and must be treated like professionals.

In this issue of the Next Gen Navigator, we examine in depth Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future with articles from Heidi Schweingruber, director of the NASEM Board on Science Education; Jim Short, program director, Leadership and Teaching to Advance Learning, Carnegie Corporation of New York (which funded the study); and Margaret Honey, president and CEO of the New York Hall of Science (chair of the committee that produced the report).

Also in this issue, several teachers and teacher leaders share their thoughts around the key recommendations from the report about resources for classrooms, equity, and more.

The NASEM Call to Action is our opportunity to inform the world about the critical importance of science education. Teachers must be part of the conversation. How can teachers and NSTA work with policymakers and our communities to bring more time, materials, and resources to science instruction? What can we do to help develop a more diverse science teaching workforce, and ensure that our students have clear, supportive pathways across the K–16 continuum? How can we work with officials to ensure that science is included in state and federal accountability systems in a way that aligns with high-quality science instruction?

I encourage you to get involved! In the coming months, look for NSTA resources (messages, social media, letters, direct advocacy, and more) that will help you share your story about science education. Working together, we can make science education the priority it should be.

Erika Shugart, NSTA Executive Director
Erika Shugart, Executive Director, NSTA
Next Gen Navigator Guest Editor

Dr. Erika Shugart is the executive director of the National Science Teaching Association. Before joining the association staff in March 2021, Shugart served as the chief executive officer and executive director of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), a Maryland-based professional society for more than 7,000 cell biologists worldwide. Prior to joining ASCB in 2016, Shugart served as the director of communications and marketing strategy at the American Society for Microbiology. Between 2003 and 2013, Shugart oversaw the development of new digital media exhibitions, online experiences, and programs as deputy director of the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences. Shugart also conceptualized and managed the museum’s online presence, including its award-winning website. Early in her career, Shugart directed the National Academy of Sciences’ Office on Public Understanding of Science, and also worked at the Office of Policy Analysis at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

>> A Call to Action for Science Education
Dr. Heidi Schweingruber, director for the Board on Science Education at NASEM, describes how and why the National Academies convened a top-level panel of scientists and educators to develop Call to Action for Science EducationRead more.

>> A National Call to Action: Building an Equitable and Cohesive K–16 Science Education System
Jim Short, program director, Leadership and Teaching to Advance Learning, with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Margaret Honey, president and chief executive officer of the New York Hall of Science, discuss the impetus behind the NASEM’s Call to Action for Science Education. Read more.

>> The Need for Resources and Professional Learning in Science Education
Teacher Susan Johnson writes about the importance of providing time, materials, and resources for science instruction. Read more.

>> Developing a Strong, Diverse Science Teaching Workforce Is Critical
Teacher Latrece Johnson recounts her journey as a teacher leader and explains the importance of creating and sustaining science education partnerships and alliances. Read more.

Note: The Next Gen Navigator is an e-newsletter from NSTA delivering information, insights, resources, and professional learning opportunities for science educators by science educators focusing on the themes highlighted in Call to Action for Science Education and on the Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional instruction. Click here to sign up to receive the Navigator.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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