Boffins to UK.gov: Don't muck around with science teaching
You cannae change the laws of physics
A group of prominent UK scientists is warning that changes to the way science is taught in schools are being made too fast, and without proper consultation.
The Science Community Partnership Supporting Education (Score)* says the planned changes should be piloted before being rolled out on such a massive scale. Its report was published to coincide with a House of Lords debate on science in schools.
The government has proposed changes to the science curriculum in a bid to make the subject more accessible to students. It says it wants science to be more flexible and less prescriptive. We at El Reg are all in favour of this. If the powers that be can find a way to make that gravity stuff optional, we'd be much obliged.
Score says schools should be given the option of trying the new curriculum out over the next year before the changes come into force in two years' time
The Institute of Physics has warned that while the less restrictive curriculum means teachers can exercise judgement about how to teach their students, it could also end up with many classes being taught "to the test".
Daniel Sandford Smith, the education manager for schools and colleges at the Institute of Physics, told The Guardian: "This kind of teaching to the test actually undermines the government's ambitions in making these changes to personalise pupils' learning."
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) says it has consulted widely on the proposed changes, and that plenty of teachers agree with the plans. It added: "Teachers are not being asked to tear up lesson plans and start again from September 2008." ®
*Comprising the Association for Science Education, Biosciences Federation, Institute of Biology, Institute of Physics, Royal Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Science Council.
It's about time you Brits joined the civilized world with your equivalent of No Child Left Behind. I mean, really, you guys can't possibly believe you're up here in the top echelons of the world unless 100% of your students will be passing every class by 2008.
The one true path to national prosperity is to strategically position the achievement bar such that EVERY child, from a rich genius to a drooling impoverished downs syndrome child achieves at the 100% level and receives every academic accolade available.
That'll show their Japanese with their absurdly high graduation rates.
In all reality, I suspect that a pre-university education is about to become significantly more devalued than it already is, but of course their jobs will continue to rise in pay because we have to make everyone equal.
I've worked numerous technical jobs. I've made from between $6.75 and $24/hr over the course of this career, and experience isn't an issue - I've worked alongside $220/partial hour consultants and made them look dumb. But they don't work for our company - so we can pay them more. But it's not a matter of consultants vs. regular staff, in reality. Consultants are just lucky - I'll join their ranks eventually.
What I really have a problem with are the people who work at pet stores and retail chains and warehouses who make $15-40/hr starting. So, there isn't much money in the short term if you do well and succeed. But there's craptons of short-term money for doing crap work. And after all, the only thing that REALLY matters to society is how much money you have NOW.
The big question is...
How the hell does Science Community Partnership Supporting Education make Score?
Living as we do in an "age of progress", no one gets any glory for keeping the system running, or even getting the old system to work with modern information and values.
No. Every new Minister or head of whatever department is responsible, has to make "improvements".. kind of like a dog marking out its territory..
and with all these improvements we have been afflicted with, there would presumably be some noticeable difference in output, like for instance, more students passing high-brow subjects.
What we are seeing is an attempt by educational progressives to validate their ideology by moving the goalposts.