Educators. Students. Community members. Much more unites us than divides us, particularly knowing we all wear multiple hats. Building relationships. Thinking BIG.
Challenging and supporting one another. Developing engaged, empathetic citizens. Please join me in pondering how best to nurture these common ground connections.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Fresh Start

My blogging hiatus is officially over! It seems the perfect time—a new year, new semester and new president all upon us. Unfortunately, GBN administered final exams last Tuesday and missed watching a part of this new beginning—the historic inauguration of President Obama, along with his inauguration speech. Other schools described the day as "electric," the halls and classrooms filled with enthusiastic dialogue. High school students, too young to vote, were conversing about the future and what they could do to participate, as well as formulating insightful, authentic questions for their teachers all day long.

One moment that jumped out at me during President Obama's speech was his reference to science. He made the following statements, "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do."

Looking at this paragraph carefully, the foundation for growth that the president describes is rooted in science. I'm thrilled by this! I hope educators and students see this an invitation. I also find this paragraph intriguing; what is science's rightful place? And what caused its shift from its rightful place? And how, when and where will the discussions take place regarding the economic, political, religious, and/or social constraints that affect science? And how can we use science as a means for positive humanitarian efforts?

There are many of us who have wondered how long it would take for the idea of "thinking as a scientist" to resurface and play a role in our governmental decisions. More importantly, I still wonder whether the people making these decisions are capable of reading, processing and analyzing information that is highly scientific in nature and making a solid decision regarding it. If children are still wondering why to study science, I hope this speech makes it clear. Even though schools segregate our academic areas of study into separate classrooms, they are one and the same. Each piece plays a role in our daily lives, intertwined and complex. And although certain content details may not be needed for recall on a constant basis, the need for a comprehensive understanding of these ideas is mandatory for the betterment of our global community. Regardless of what position you will hold in the future, decision-making requires the ability to think as a scientist. And sometimes, the content you're thinking about can be extremely challenging. It's worth challenging our students to think this way.

A fresh start starts now!

(Pictures linked to original sites, including Lasvegassun.com and Washingtonpost.com.)