Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Senator opposes science education
The following text was distributed to Arizona newspapers:
For decades, the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix provided free K-12 earth science education programs. Twenty five thousand students a year visited the museum on school field trips, with buses coming from as far away as Yuma. Many teachers depended on museum resources to comply with state mandated earth science education standard. Over 15 thousand more children, including scouts and home schooled students, visited the museum each year for an informal learning experience. Then, in 2010, the Arizona Historical Society was assigned management responsibility for the museum. In less than a year, the doors were locked for no apparent reason. The building has been vacant since.
Senate Bill 1200 would restore the museum and the K-12 education programs by reassigning museum management responsibility and museum resources to the Arizona Geological Survey. The bill is budget neutral, and would restore other museum services, such as access to research material and displays that would be open to the public. Incredibly, Senator Lynne Pancrazi spoke in opposition to the bill on the floor of the Senate. She argued that a museum could not be successful without the unique museum management expertise of the Arizona Historical Society. The AZGS would be at a handicap.
Senator Pancrazi, are you aware that the AHS, despite many millions of dollars in state subsidies, has never produced a top rated museum? On what do you base your claim of unique AHS management expertise? Are you aware that the mineral museum was formerly successful because it was managed by scientists, geologists and engineers? Are your aware that the AZGS is staffed by scientists, geologists and engineers? Why do you think the AZGS is not capable of presenting rock and mineral education to the public? Finally, if the AHS has unique museum management expertise, why did they close the only top rated museum they ever had control of? Please compare the attendance records of the mineral museum with that of the AHS history museums. You will see that you objection to SB1200 is completely unfounded.