A study called the Nation’s Report Card for science came out last week. Idaho students scored 14th nationally. At the same time education leaders from across the state met to discuss how to improve the state’s science education. Last week’s STEM Summit brought together, teachers, administrators, politicians, and business leaders from all over Idaho to talk about the future of science, technology, engineering and math education. Brenda Gardunia was one of the speakers. She’s a long time Boise teacher and is working for the National Science Foundation through an Albert Einstein Fellowship. Gardunia says she wants to see more of what she calls authentic science.
“Our science, math, engineering and technology has been too isolated from the real world. Our students live in a different world than a lot of their parents give up in. They want more, they demand more than textbook learning. They want to know how it relates, they want hands on, and I think they need that.”
The Nation’s Report Card on science shows Idaho has a substantial gap between low and high income students and an even larger disparity between white and Hispanic students. It also showed no improvement from the last time the test was given in 2009. Idaho has programs in place meant to boost the state’s science education. New graduation requirements for the class of 2013 for example boost science classes and hands on lab work. Gardunia says the summit put the state on the path to what comes next in science education but the conversation is still in the early stages.