Go Carl! Physics Nobel Laureate and former OSTP Director gives blistering critique of the state of American science education

From a Science Magazine report on Carl Wieman’s testimony to the Senate Science and Commerce Committee:

“There has been very little change in the level of interest in STEM or the mastery of STEM subjects by U.S. students in the past few decades,” Wieman testified before the same panel that had approved his OSTP nomination in 2010. The lack of progress, he told Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller (D-WV), who chaired the hearing, is due to the way most teachers are trained and most students are taught…

…Wieman told the committee that “powerful, vested interests” on college campuses discourage the adoption of new ways to teach science and train future science teachers, saying that most universities place a higher priority on research productivity than on student learning. He also questioned the value of federally funded scholarship programs for students hoping to become STEM teachers, saying that they simply reinforce existing approaches that are not effective. And he said that professional development for teachers already in the classroom is based on the flawed premise that teachers who haven’t learned the needed skills during college can somehow acquire them through some type of “voluntary, intermittent, after-hours activity.”

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