Science and engineering readiness leader Massachusetts looks overseas for competition

If you’ve got the rest of the nation beat, where do you look for your competition?

Overseas, of course.

Boston Globe blogger and conservative think tank director Jim Stergios posted yesterday about a critical commentary by Silicon Valley tech executive Ze’ev Wurman’s on the NRC K-12 Science Education Framework.  Wurman criticized the framework’s focus on science literacy and argued that instead it should have focused on science and engineering readiness.  Stergios seconded that sentiment.  I argued in a comment on the Stergios post that the US should pursue a two-track science education strategy – one track for literacy and another for science and engineering readiness (it looked alot like my post yesterday here).  Stergios responded this way:

Agreed that not every student will become a scientist, but in Massachusetts one of our core problems is that we have good performance (on int’l tests) in science but we have half the percentage of high performers that Singapore and South Korea have. Increasing the focus on “literacy” is not going to address that. Instead, keeping the focus on highly quality content-based standards introduced only a few years ago will, together with testing to ensure that teachers and principals are focused on science instruction.

In Florida, even the right-leaning school reform types focus on science literacy and pay little heed to the need to address science and engineering readiness.  In Massachusetts, those folks (in so far as Mr. Stergios represents them) are trying to figure out how to educate as many scientists and engineers as Singapore and South Korea do.  That’s a very different way of seeing things.

 

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3 Responses to Science and engineering readiness leader Massachusetts looks overseas for competition

  1. Doc Carr says:

    Any time someone talks about percentages, you must always ask what denominator is being used. In the U.S., it is usually everyone. That is not the case in systems where everyone does not got to what we call high school.

  2. Pingback: Boston Herald editorial: K-12 Science Education Framework is “bewildering” « Bridge to Tomorrow

  3. Bob Calder says:

    I have been to a few of Patsy Iverson-Wang’s talks and wasn’t aware that Singapore split students into academic versus vocational cohorts. In fact, students that don’t pass exit exams go to a separate remedial high school after their classmates have departed to university.

    If you look at MA as “focusing curriculum” rather than being “better” the focus on percentages is a reasonable next step.

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