Friday, September 17, 2010

Science education threatened by the Arizona Historical Society and Arizona Centennial Museum

On September 17, 2010, the Arizona Republic published an article by Kerry Fehr-Snyder entitled “Grants kick start Arizona effort to lift science-math skills. The article describes how Governor Brewer has provided $100,000 of seed money to improve science and math education in Arizona. The article reveals that Arizona is at the bottom of all states in the country in science proficiency as measured by National Assessment of Education Progress standards.

At a meeting to discuss the grant, Science Foundation Arizona board member Martina-Newell-McGloughlin said Arizona needs to make science and math more interesting. She stated “If the kids are not excited about what they are learning, they’re going to switch to other careers”.

Meanwhile, Governor Brewer is diverting millions of dollars to take the excitement out of science education. The millions are going to the Arizona Historical Society which has been tasked with replacing the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum with the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. The mineral museum is currently an exciting earth science education experience for Arizona students. Middle aged Arizonians fondly remember their school field trip to the mineral museum. How many K-12 learning experiences are so exciting that they are still remembered decades later?

The $100,000 grant, however well intended it may have been, cannot begin to compensate for the damage the Arizona Centennial Museum will do to science education.

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