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Math skills are essential for scientific learning

The John Hopkins News-Letter – Jonathan Patterson

“We need to talk about math. Now I know that not everyone loves math, and that’s okay. Math can be challenging, abstract, confusing and, for some of us, just painful. A Fields Medal is not in everyone’s future, and that’s fine. However, that shouldn’t stop people from acquiring a decent level of mathematical understanding. Ignorance of mathematics is yet another iteration of the scientific illiteracy that runs throughout our society today, particularly in America. What stands out about mathematical ignorance, though, is just how widespread and accepted it has become.”(more)

Students need tech skills for more than just jobs — they need it to be good citizens

The Seattle Times – Jerry Large

“You’ve heard many times the complaint that Washington state is not preparing enough of its students for high-tech jobs. Job preparation is a good reason for making a high-quality math and science education more broadly available, but there is another increasingly important reason to move quickly to give young people a solid grounding in those areas of study. This country desperately needs a science-literate citizenry. Reading is fundamental, the arts are essential and history is a must. But more than at any time in our development, an understanding of math and science has become crucial in our political and personal lives. And we’re not where we need to be in preparing Americans with a solid base of understanding in any of those areas.”(more)

The Asian century is gaining momentum: universities must prepare

The Guardian – Matt Durnin

“Amidst the handwringing over the effect of Brexit on the UK’s universities, we need to contemplate our place in a future global economy driven by technology and innovation. From where will the most important discoveries of the coming decades emerge? Which countries and cities will give birth to the technologies, cures and ideas that will shape our future? China spends five times that of the UK on R&D each year. For universities hoping to build or maintain their position as global leaders in innovation and enterprise, China is hard to overlook as an option.”(more)

Don’t let the world pass us by on science: Editorial

The Star – Staff Writer

“‘Holding their own’ may be too rosy. Countries like China, Switzerland and Singapore significantly improved their showings in this year’s top-200 list, a reflection of strategic policies and aggressive investments in scientific infrastructure and researchers. Meanwhile, Canada has been moving in the opposite direction. Only six Canadian universities made the current top 200, down from eight last year. This will come as no surprise to Canadian researchers, who have long lamented the federal government’s short-sighted approach to science policy.”(more)

Why Science Education Is Essential For Democracy

The Huffington Post – Arthur Camins

“The current election cycle scares me in ways that I have never felt before. It is not so much the hatred and lies that Donald Trump spews regularly, but the potential for sanctioned violence and irrationality from my fellow citizens. History and morality demand vigorous challenge. My realm is science education. I believe it has a role to play in promoting widespread human decency, equity, and reason. I came to science education advocacy as a young person by way of curiosity, social action, and history. I’m still there. Sure, effective STEM education can prepare students for the jobs of the future. Yes, it can enhance workforce competitiveness is a global economy. However, that is not what drives me.”(more)

What To Do About America’s STEM Education Gap

The Scientific American – Staff Writer

“America has been struggling to keep up when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The U.S. placed 35th and 27th out of 64 countries in math and science respectively according to the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment survey. That stinks. Today, Scientific American and Macmillan Learning held the STEM Summit 4.0 at the New York Academy of Sciences. Educators, entrepreneurs and government employees gathered in a space overlooking the lower Manhattan skyline to listen to and discuss strategies for teaching and engaging students in STEM topics. This year’s theme: The Power of Data.”(more)