I’m Running for School Board
We see Garry Piiparinen quite a lot at my house, especially on election years. He comes by to hear what my wife and I think on the issues and to back this or that candidate that he supports. He serves as a Wyoming State congressman. We’ve lived a lot of places, but we’ve never seen this much of our state government representatives. He’s also very responsive to inquires made on social media.
Three months or so ago, as we stood on my front porch having a chat, Garry asked me if I had any local issues that I felt strongly about. I told him that when my son was in high school he was in special education (he has Duchenne muscular dystrophy) and that because of the extra tutoring time in special ed he was only able to take the core “environmental” science classes every year. I said that I thought there should be more emphasis on deeper science topics in the curriculum core. He told me that I should run for school board.
My oldest son graduated out of the system a couple of years ago, but my youngest son is almost halfway through it. He has asperger’s autism and is likely headed for special ed like his brother. He has enthusiasm for science and especially Biology, but struggles with his math. However the math issue for him is more attitude than competence. All he really needs is an understanding of why. I think many people suffer from this with regards to math. I saw a T-Shirt online that says, “Well, another day has gone by and I still haven’t used Algebra”. I’ve seen another T-Shirt that says, “Stand back I’m going to try Science”.
In reading through information that my local school district makes available online, I found that Evanston test scores exceed the national average on math and reading, mostly math, but pretty much tie the average on science. I read about ideas in the works to try and raise the reading performance higher, but without loosing the math emphasis that brings about their success there. “Why not science?” I said aloud to myself. While studying science, one reads at a higher grade level and also discovers why advanced math is important. Science ties reading, math, and critical thinking all together. If the schools work to improve on their performance in science, that will push math and reading performance improvements along for the ride.
In preparing my campaign I learned about the new Common Care Standards that have been recently adopted by most of the United States and found that they contain no science.
That’s right. Lots of English literature but no science.
By the time this year’s kindergartners graduate from high school, there will likely be people studying Mars hands-on. Yes…scientists will walk around on Mars dirt, picking up rocks and looking at them. The projects to send people to do that are already in the works and do not depend (entirely) on governments that loose interest, cut funding, and care only about power. Planetary Science will be the big push with actual, direct, physical access to an alien world to compare to Earth. They’ll find all the differences between Mars and Earth, but the nature of those differences will help us better understand the world in which all of us live. However the current body of researchers will not be enough.
If they find any life, whether it came from Earth initially or evolved there independently, they’ll have an alien ecosystem to compare with our own.
They’ll get a closer look at what drives weather and long-term climate change on Mars. Both there and here scientists will suddenly have a plethora of results to quantify, analyze, name, discuss and integrate into humanity’s understanding of the way things work on both planets. Where will we find all of those geologists, chemists, biologists, meteorologists, etc.? How many people in the U.S. will be paid engineering salaries to do that work? How will those people prepare?
Who will develop the gazillion spin-off discoveries in healthcare, computer technology, rocketry, astronomy, energy, agriculture, and who knows what all else? Who will work in the new industries that those innovations will generate?
If we would prepare our children for the future that I’ve just described, we should insist that our schools teach them science. As parents we should find our childrens’ “science button” and push it. Our schools should provide curriculum and goals to develop those interests so that when children graduate they already have their feet on the path to the higher education they will need to pursue their dreams. That won’t happen enless schools everywhere hold themselves to a higher standard than just the Common Core. To force that YOU must elect science enthusiasts to your local school board.
Wherever in the world you live, vote if you are allowed to do so. Do not let anyone dissuade you. When you vote, vote with the goal of government serving you, not the other way around. Vote with the understanding that things which strengthen all strengthen each.
If you live elsewhere in the U.S., then stand with me and fight for the science competency of the upcoming generation. The Climate Change issue, whichever side of that issue you stand on, would be a completely different discussion if more folks understood the science behind it. We toss around that and a host of other issues every day for which a greater general knowledge of science would reduce the “elitism” and help us all work as a team to guide the direction of our culture for the betterment of all.