Saturday, February 14, 2009

Opportunity: Speak for the Future

As educators, our primary duty lies in always looking to and speaking for the future.....that is what a teacher does. As an educator, interested in the re-integration of science into our future learning/teaching cycle, I join groups that share my ideals. Recently, a science advocacy group, Science Debate 2008, began by encouraging us to speak up in support of science and technology.

The main focus of Science Debate 2008 was to encourage the candidates to debate the trends and issues related to Science in the United States of America. Americans have long made innovations as science and technology serves us as the engine of economic stability in our country.

Those who joined in the call to bring science and technology back into the public sphere have political leanings that are as varied as the individual snowflakes in a snowstorm, yet we are united in an important cause to promote science and technology. I hope we can encourage the regeneration of science and technology to help stabilize and improve our economy.

Since the election ended, Science Debate 2008 continued to inform us about trends and issues about science and technology in the United States of America.

Just last week, I received an email with important information that detailed the proposed Nelson-Collins cuts in the economic stimulus and tax cut bill. NSF, NOAA, USDA, and a wide variety of governmental agencies focusing on research and education had their money slashed....theoretically. Many of us responded to the invitation to write our congressional representatives in the House and Senate.

After I received the information, I wrote both of my senators. While I knew the chances of them voting for any of the plans were slim, I encouraged them to ask those would vote to NOT cut the science job and education stimulus portion of this bill. I was only one of a multitude of concerned voters who encouraged our elected officials to strongly consider the job creating abilities of NSF, NOAA and other governmental agencies that could immediately grant monies to projects that will put people to work and educate them about science and technology.

As the elections of 2008 are past, Science Debate 2008 has been inspired to continue to support the efforts of individuals like YOU and me. They have listened to our suggestions and will be

"concentrating the majority of our focus on the broad goal of continuing to 'restore science to its rightful place in three ways: championing science debates among policymakers and those running for office; combating the erosion of science and science policy in the media; and new efforts to involve young people in science policy discussions."

Yes, their work is our work. Including young people is a sure fire way to integrate science, math, engineering and technology in their complete education.

WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY! Please join me and the thousands of others in working with Science Debate 2008 to find ways to integrate science and technology into the lives of our students and communities.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Sammcoy!

Ever since I read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring as a teenager in the mid 60s, I have been wary of how Science and Technology, through the lips of teachers, should speak for the future. Yet Carson was a scientist and she looked to the future. There is no doubt about the surety of her seeing eyes in observing what was around while she wrote.

Speaking for the future is not one we, as teachers, should do with energy without putting at least the same energy into thinking before we speak. Current trends and issues set about through homophily are sometimes reviewed in time. This happens through events, developments and community thinking and it has to run its course, sometimes taking years.

The quick-fix is yet the order of the day. Perhaps reflecting on the quick-fixes that fell out of Enrico Fermi's nuclear reactor and other truly innovative science, like those mentioned in Silent Spring, might make us better pedagogues.

Catchya later

samccoy said...

Thanks Ken. Yes, I agree that we probably have many ideas in common, yet I would suggest that it is just these quick fixes that I would like to avoid. If societies avoid quick fixes, we might avoid the inevitable backlash.

Since I live in Kansas, I have seen first hand what happens when people who disagree, stop talking and become polarized in their views of science and its efficacy in our lives.

To me, entropy between People and Earth is only possible by informed discussion that precedes actions.

Thanks again, I appreciate your thoughtful comments on my postings.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Samccoy

I didn't catch your drift about entropy when you mentioned it in connection with People and Earth. Is there some property of entropy I should know about?

Catchya later

samccoy said...

Ken, glad to get back to you. No matter how orderly we, as people, think we are, natural forces tend towards entropy.

In my opinion, doing the right thing, doing the wrong thing, often bring about unintended, sometimes grave consequences.

Surviving entropy through candid, informed discussion, planning and action would be what I was referring to earlier. This is the main thing we have going for us as humans, this adaptability.

Metaphorically speaking, I live in the middle of the road, and I know it is a dangerous place to live. For me, science is not bad, people are not bad, but too much of anything radicalizes situations, frequently with ominous results.

Rather a deep subject for a commentary, but I hope I have clarified what I was trying to say earlier.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Sheryl.

I think I catch your steam - natural forces tend towards (an increase in entropy?) Is that what you were conveying? In which case, I'd agree.

Metaphorically I spend a lot of my time (with people) attempting to decrease the entropy in a lot of what I do (as a teacher). In that stream, Science per se tends towards (a decrease in) entropy.

Discussion tends towards consensus even if it is a consensus to disagree. This too brings about an decrease in e. So, yep, I concur.

Catchya later