Posted by: COSI | September 12, 2008

Get a Life

posted by Kim Kiehl

The 21st Century Workforce Commission National Alliance of Business wrote “The current and future health of America’s 21st Century Economy depends directly on how broadly and deeply Americans reach a new level of literacy – 21st Century Literacy—that includes strong academic skills, thinking, reasoning, teamwork skills, and proficiency in using technology.” Indeed, science literacy will be the literacy of the next generation. This does not mean that citizens will have to know every little fact about every branch of science, but it does mean that we will have to have a basic understanding of major concepts and will have to be able to sort through the tons of information that will be readily available to find what is real and what is not.

It’s odd how we often wear our lack of ability in math and science as a badge of honor. You don’t hear people walking around saying that they just were never really very good at reading, but people laughingly say that they were always terrible in math or that they never really “got” science all the time. In a world where information is turning over every couple days how can you make smart decisions if you don’t have critical thinking skills? How can you decide how to vote (or who to vote for) if you don’t understand the basic ideas behind the global warming issue?

A lot has been written about how our children are not keeping up with the children in other countries and this is often linked to the schools and how the education system works. It is possible; however, that a bigger piece of this issue is related to how citizens feel about science and technology and how much it is valued. Science is all around us and throughout everything we do. It is part of everything from your alarm clock going off in the morning to the mattress you collapse into at the end of the day. Science is life. Get a life.

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