Secrecy News

Science Education is Lagging, Business Groups Say

Not enough American students are studying science, engineering and mathematics, a consortium of business organizations warned this week, posing a threat to the nation’s economic vitality and security.

“U.S. scientific and technological superiority is beginning to atrophy even as other nations are developing their own human capital,” they said.

Among their recommendations the business executives called for increased funding in basic research, reform of immigration policies to attract and retain foreign students, and improvements in public education in the sciences leading to a doubling of bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by 2015.

They also noted the need for an expedited security clearance process. “Delays in processing security clearances continue to discourage U.S. citizens from filling vital technical positions that require clearances,” they wrote.

See “Tapping America’s Potential,” July 15.

Ideally, scientific education would do more than produce qualified industrial workers. To the extent that it encourages critical thinking and reality testing, scientific training can also promote and strengthen democratic values.

0 thoughts on “Science Education is Lagging, Business Groups Say

  1. It would perhaps be beneficial to the state of education in this country if apparently serious public speakers who claimed global climate change, natural selection et cetera were hoaxes, were given the ridicule their positions deserve, not lauded.

  2. Here’s the thing: Bachelor degrees in science, at best, qualify you only as a lab technician. Lab tech work is tedious, repetitive, often does not pay particularly well, and offers little opportunity for promotion. Students are not attracted to it for these reasons, as well as others. And such degrees also do not generally grant any aptitude in critical thinking, since it isn’t taught as a subject.

    Now, if one wants more low pay lab technicians as industrial cannon fodder, the recommendation makes perfect sense. However, if one wants a more scientifically informed polity, then the best place to start is in high school, where serious education on basic everyday science is now virtually non-existent.

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