Mobilizing Scientific Societies

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Science  14 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6113, pp. 1396
DOI: 10.1126/science.1233700

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In last week's Editorial, I lamented the superficial, skin-deep approach to science learning that is common in America's schools.* The situation has proven highly resistant to change, and it continues to have a disastrous, long-lasting effect on the attitudes of students toward science (millions of whom are now adults). The main culprit is the strong demand for a broad “coverage” of each subject, which kills student interest and makes genuine comprehension almost impossible. At the precollege level, this push is driven by state-based textbook adoption policies, by high-stakes examinations, and—inadvertently—by a scientific community that largely fails to understand teachers' needs. How might scientists be mobilized to support a much more inspiring, in-depth form of science education?