Saturday, September 25, 1999
Seminar on Covering Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, Columbia University (New York, NY)
There is no doubt that since the beginning of this century the United States ranks first in generating outstanding scientists. It is therefore ironic that as a whole, the population of the United States scores low in Science and Mathematics. One only need turn to the media to see that our society does not value science and science education as it did just a few decades ago. In spite of all the advances in science and the many contributions of related technological developments to society, science illiteracy is rampant. The average person has little faith in scientists and there are more pressing problems than science education on the agenda of most people. These are worrisome developments because it is in the interest of society that everyone understand at least what science is about. No one can deny the formidable advances that have been achieved in science and their impact on the quality of life advances that would not have been made without the outstanding quality of American scientists. What happens now in the classrooms across the United States will directly affect the health and well-being of this country in the next century. We must act now to prevent losing our edge in science and technology.