Letter to the Editor, Aug. 26, 2012
More is needed
EDITOR: I am a technically educated individual who retired from DuPont at Towanda from managing the plant's Technical Section. In recent years, it has become clear that our educational system, on a world-wide basis, is falling steadily behind in educating our children to become scientists and this is damaging our society. I read recently in The Review that BLAST is starting a science program in the Ulster area for grades 6 to 8 in the late afternoon to attack this problem. This is a good step in the right direction. However, I've heard from parents of teenagers, that while it fits 6th graders well, that competition from other after school activities will diminish attendance from grades 7 and 8.
I recently read an interview from the Wall Street Journal done by Bloomberg which makes a strong point that more is needed. Ellen Kullman, the CEO of DuPont was interviewed.
I'll quote her remarks:
"We as a country have done a lot to enable opportunities around science. We're not educating our kids to take advantage of it. And it doesn't start in high school; it starts in grade school. It starts with a science curriculum in grade school that's relevant to the kids' world, which is a lot different than when the science curriculum was actually written, which was decades ago. There are a lot of programs out there that try to create that, whether it's the Lego Robotics program or Model Maker. And that's great, but only if the child has the opportunity to participate after school or on weekends. It's got to be part of the core curriculum.
Delaware, I think, has done a pretty good job. We got Race to the Top dollars, and we've partnered in the state for decades around science and curriculum. Part of that Race to the Top money is employing a program out of the Boston Museum of Science called Engineering is Elementary. It literally starts in first grade, and it's the greatest little modules at the appropriate level for the grade level. That's what's needed. Because by the time a kid gets to eighth grade, it's almost too late."
I recommend and hope that our Bradford County school districts will put some serious thought into developing core curriculums in this area for our elementary schools.