CHALLENGES OF TEACHING GEOSCIENCE IN UNDER-RESOURCED URBAN HIGH SCHOOLS
The problems come when the basic academic skills the standards assume exist are weak, or nonexistent. I am presenting some specific cases I have dealt with in San Francisco Bay Area, California urban public high schools. Problems ranged from students with reading skills far below grade level, to those who had not had a science class in several years. A few were being tossed in a storm of gangs, violence, and economic stress. Other students did not speak English as their primary language.
My conclusion is that a remedial geoscience education program should be developed. It should cover a wide range of topics including ways to adapt an Earth Science class to fit the needs of physically or developmentally disabled students. The program must also represent the wide range of fields within Geoscience so that it can be useful in many parts of the country. At its core of the program should inspire students to think beyond “passing the test” and see a field where they can become important participants.