As a committee, we have planted a stake firmly in the ground in this national call to action for better, more equitable science education. We ask federal and state policy makers, philanthropies, and local communities to plant stakes next to our own and say in a unified voice that science education is a national priority because it is essential to our nation’s vitality, the maintenance of its democracy, the quality of life its people lead, the health of its economy and its ability to respond to big challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerted and coordinated action at national, state, and local levels consistent with the recommendations we lay out must follow.
We earlier noted that we developed the content and the recommendations of this report in the midst of the pandemic as well as a national reckoning on race. Both the spread of COVID-19 and historic inequities based on race and income have ravaged communities from coast to coast, in regions such as Appalachia, the Old Plantation South, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and in cities from Buffalo to Dallas to Los Angeles. However, we believe that the nation has an opportunity to reset the way it delivers or supports the delivery of what the American people need to thrive —including how the nation’s schools and communities deliver science education.
The pandemic has reminded the nation how important science is, not only in providing a way out of it through the quick production of vaccines but also in demonstrating why everyone living in America must understand the basics of science. The national reckoning on race has elevated historic inequities in, among other areas, health, employment, and education. That reckoning has made clear that addressing these inequities must be a national priority as well. The nation has an opportunity to reset science education so that it is better for all Americans and more equitable for populations of students from rural communities and those who are of color or are experiencing poverty. America needs better, more equitable science education. We know America can deliver it.