On Representative Nelson’s proposal for a “career high school diploma”: Why all students need to learn science

As I was listening to the “workshop” being held by the PreK-20 Innovation Subcommittee in the Florida House yesterday afternoon on the idea of a “career high school diploma”, I thought about the introduction to the “report brief” for the NRC K-12 Science Framework, which is reproduced below.  The workshop was being held partly in response to HB 111, which would gut the state’s new high school graduation requirements in science and math.

Science, engineering, and technology permeate every aspect of modern life. Some knowledge of science and engineering is required to understand and participate in many major public policy issues of today, as well as to make informed everyday decisions, such as selecting among alternate medical treatments or determining whether to buy an energy-efficient furnace.

By the end of the 12th grade, students should have sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on science-related issues, to be critical consumers of scientific information related to their everyday lives, and to be able to continue to learn about science throughout their lives. They should recognize that our current scientific understanding of the world is the result of hundreds of years of creative human endeavor. And these are goals for all of the nation’s students, not just those who pursue higher education or careers in science, engineering, or technology.


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