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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida's lame in science - and nobody cares



yawn_baby.The reaction to yesterday's news about Florida students still struggling with science underscores a yawning disconnect between education and business leaders and the general public. And I do mean yawning.

Because yawn is what most people did when they heard. (If they heard.)

Most media outlets ignored the story. And the few that covered it (like us) didn't get much response from readers. Zzzzz.

Business folks weren't happy. Science educators weren't happy. The education commissioner said we've got to get better, now. They all said the right things about science education being key to Florida's economic future, which you'd think would strike a chord with unemployment at 12 percent and big, bad China taking over the world.

But no. Zzzzzz.

Science, of course, matters for reasons beyond jobs, jobs, jobs. Especially in Florida. It's not a stretch to suggest that basic science literacy is fundamental to being a good citizen. A little chemistry, a little biology and a little physics goes a long way in better understanding everything from manatees and space shuttles to why swamps aren't just places where mosquitoes breed.

Floridians should be demanding that our kids are No. 1 in science, not No. 36.

If they're not, leadership should be.

So who's going to step up and finally make science a priority?

Who's going to put that new banner on top of the Turlington Building? Maybe one with a cute little frog logo (focus group tested!) and a nifty little slogan like Just Hypothesize, Florida! (Okay, that needs work.)

Who's going to be bold and make sure there's not a single out-of-field science teacher in Florida within three years? And line up business partners to pony up the beakers and microscopes when classrooms get whacked by budget cuts?

Gov. Rick Scott? The Board of Education? The Council of 100 and the Chamber of Commerce?

Everyone's waiting for someone else to take the lead.

Well, keep waiting.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 2:10pm]


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