Transforming Science Education
Throughout the West, declining standards in science education are threatening future prosperity. The problem stems largely from continued reliance on a sequence of study that was devised in 1893 and has become woefully obsolete.
CHICAGO – Throughout the West, declining standards in science education are threatening future prosperity. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the West has depended on technical innovation and scientific derring-do for its influence and growth. But the West now faces serious competition from the rising nations of Asia, where education in math and science is flourishing.
In general, competition in science and technology is a blessing – the more advanced a nation is, the better a customer it is. And collaboration and exchange of people make for profitable businesses and higher standards of living. But it must be recognized that falling educational standards will eventually hit economic growth.
The West, particularly the United States, has lived through such a moment of recognition before, when the USSR launched Sputnik in 1957. The so-called “Sputnik shock” convinced America and the West of the need for radical reform of science education, particularly recruitment, training, and retention of teachers.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in