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Moving Forward to a Brighter Future for Science Education

By Dr. Elizabeth Allan, Dennis Schatz, and Dr. Eric Pyle (NSTA 2020–21 Presidential Chain)

Posted on 2021-01-25

As President Biden assumes office, he faces multiple, overlapping challenges that must be dealt with in turn—the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine delivery, rebuilding the economy, and attacking climate change. Solutions to these challenges require rational thought and a dedication to evidence-based decisions to be benefit of all people. In short, successful solutions will embody the very nature of science.

The events of January 6 in Washington D.C. embodied none of these hallmarks, and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) deplores and rejects the irrational violence that was on display. While some may still dispute the results of the election, the destruction and hatred on display can never be accepted as a solution, and has nothing to do with who we are as a people and who we aspire to become.

Yet with the Inauguration of President Biden, there is ample reason to have hope that we will soon be on good footing to address each of these problems, through the diverse team that he has assembled:

  • A career public school educator as Secretary of Education, known for his energy and dedication to innovation in the interests of all students;
  • A mathematician and geneticist known for biomedical research as Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy, which is to become a cabinet-level position; and
  • A planetary scientist and a chemical engineer as Co-Chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology.

These appointments mark a singular focus on the use of scientific data and a reliance on evidence in decision-making in the areas that most affect educators of science at all levels.  They are also likely to appreciate the challenges to teaching science of late, and those faced by students.

NSTA is in a position to share the stories of educators—your challenges in meeting your students’ needs regardless of their situation, and how your challenges were turned into successes. NSTA will work to see that these stories are heard, and to help shape policy solutions that will address inequities in learning and learning opportunities that so many youth have experienced, both historically as well as amplified over the last year. NSTA will also continue to develop and deliver content and professional learning opportunities for the entire science education community. We can do nothing less to ensure that we all move forward to a brighter future.


Dr. Elizabeth "Beth" Allan

Dr. Elizabeth "Beth" Allan is the president of the National Science Teaching Association. She began serving her one-year term on June 1, 2020. Allan is currently Professor of Biology and Coordinator of the Secondary Science Education program at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Dennis Schatz

Dennis Schatz is the retiring president of the National Science Teaching Association. He began serving his one-year term on June 1, 2020. Schatz is currently based in Seattle, Washington, as Senior Fellow at the Institute for Learning Innovation, and was also the inaugural field editor for NSTA's Connected Science Learning.

Dr. Eric Pyle

Dr. Eric J. Pyle is president-elect of the National Science Teaching Association. He began serving his one-year term on June 1, 2020, and will assume the office of president on June 1, 2021. Pyle is currently a Professor of Geoscience Education at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he works with preservice teachers of science and future geoscience professionals, providing coursework and research opportunities in both science education and Earth and planetary science.

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


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