Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


DUGGAN-HAAS, Don, Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850,

Half the nation's high school Earth science classes are in just a few states, with New York boasting nearly twice as many as any other state. That means that most Americans formal education about the Earth system ends by the end of eighth grade (CCSSO, 2007). And, one in four of the high school teachers who are teaching Earth science, have neither a major nor a minor in the discipline, bringing the quality of Earth science instruction into question. Further, we know that even in subjects with an ample supply of qualified teachers, like biology, the educational system fails to develop scientific understandings that are either deep or durable.

The formal educational system simply fails to build broad understanding of the natural and social world. If we wish to have a science literate populace, we must do something either in addition to, or instead of schooling. What might such approaches look like?

This presentation will push the audience to think outside of the paradigm of schooling, and to recognize that many current efforts to "fix" schools with the hopes of nurturing the development of skills needed for life in the 21st Century are akin to "fixing" a canal boat in the hopes of turning it into a jet airplane.