audience in classroom

National experts discuss the need to keep the science in science education

Allowing politics or ideology to shape K-12 science education cheats students and could shortchange society’s future, according to a panel of nationally recognized scientists and educators who spoke at Chapman University.

“Somewhere in Louisiana, where they are allowed to teach creation science alongside evolution, there’s a kid sitting in a classroom who might grow up to be the next (
Albert) Schweitzer
, who might grow up to be the next
Ben Santer
, Ph.D., who might never find out how amazing science is and how powerful it is because they’re not being taught real science. And that’s not OK,” said Ann Reid, executive director of the National Association for Science Education (
) and the panel moderator.

woman talking with microphone

Ann Reid, executive director of the National Association for Science Education, moderated the panel discussion on science education. (Photos by Scott Stedman ’14)

The Friday, Feb. 7,
panel discussion
hosted by the College of Educational Studies (CES) addressed the ways in which science education is being undermined by advocates of creationism and critics of climate change science. Other panelists included Santer, an atmospheric scientist with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an NCSE board member, and
Brian Alters
, Ph.D., director of Chapman’s Evolution Education Research Center and NCSE president.

NCSE is the leading defender of teaching evolution and climate science and a key resource to teachers facing pushback from parents or school boards critical of science curricula for ideological reasons. Among the panelists was
Eugenie Scott
, Ph.D., outgoing NCSE executive director, who it was announced has been named a faculty associate at CES.

Ky Kugler, Ph.D., associate dean of CES, said the college looks forward to more such panels.

“The NCSE panel discussion was a great event as noted by the audience asking pertinent, thought-provoking questions and the large attendance, which required us to open two overflow rooms,” Kugler said. “We look forward to bringing back a similar panel and exchange again next year on behalf of science education.”

A complete video of the discussion can be viewed at Chapman’s University’s

Dawn Bonker

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