From the President

By Carter, Todd | The American Biology Teacher, May 2008 | Go to article overview

From the President


Carter, Todd, The American Biology Teacher


The call for science education reform has gone out for decades. Advisory committees, blue-ribbon panels, congressional reports, and research agencies have offered the what and the how. We have state and national standards, exemplary practices, schools that work, and the value of science education for the individual and community has been declared. Like a tsunami warning system with too many false alarms, there appears to be a disconnect with reality. That disconnect starts at the individual institution wherever it might be along the P-20 continuum.

Has your institution identified and published the value of science literacy and how that is accomplished on your campus? Until there is a connection to local values, support for teaching biology as it should be taught will not happen. What barriers do you encounter in teaching biology? It might be resources, space, time, personnel, professional development, or administrative support. Can you look at other areas on your campus and get a feel for what is valued based on the categories listed above? How can something like biology education gain value on your campus and in the community you serve?

Applying the "think globally, act locally" concept to the value of science literacy is a good way to start. Start locally by having conversations within your department, program, and school. Show connections to the institutional and state outcomes for high school and college graduates in areas such as communication, math, critical thinking, and civic engagement. Map where these outcomes can be addressed when given the resources and support for teaching biology as recommended by research and countless reports. Propose a pilot project in your biology class addressing an institution-wide area of need such as critical thinking. …

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