2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


NEHM, Ross H., Biology and Secondary Education, City Univ of New York, The City College, Convent Avenue at 138th Street, Marshak Science J525, New York, NY 10031, Rnehm@ccny.cuny.edu

Gross inequities in scientific participation, attitudes, and knowledge among ethnic and minority groups in the United States have triggered numerous science education reform efforts that have called for a more inclusive science education (i.e.,“Science for All,” National Research Council, AAAS, NSF). Unfortunately, most of these major science education reform documents have largely failed to specify how schooling can provide specific entry points for marginalized students into “mainstream” science. This issue is of considerable concern for those who teach Latino/a Americans because their success in education in general, and participation in the sciences in particular, has remained consistently and unacceptably low for more than two decades. The Dominican Republic Project’s (DRP) integrative geo-bioscience and education center at The City College, CUNY in New York City is working to increase minority participation and success in the sciences at several education levels. The limited academic success of Dominican Americans is of great concern for many educators in New York City because Dominican Americans comprise the largest minority group entering our schools (>100,000) and are the fastest growing ethnic group in the city (> 500,000). The DRP’s new approach to science education in the Latino/a community first acknowledges the cultural capital and strengths that Latino/a students bring to their classrooms. Specifically, it focuses on how Dominican American cultural capital can be identified, respected, and employed in secondary science curricula. Second, this cultural capital is then used to create entry points into science for Dominican American students and facilitate participation and engagement in science. Dominican American transnationalism is a key example of cultural capital. Four illustrative examples are provided of how cultural capital and transnationalism can be incorporated into secondary earth and life science curricula: plate tectonics, environmental change, biodiversity/systematics, and ecology. An overview of the Center’s website and resources will also be provided.