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Our democratic way of life is not threatened

January 20, 2015

In The Myth of Scientific Literacy, Morris Shamos has this gem of a quote from a former program director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

The perception of crisis [in science literacy] is partially a product of hyperbole employed in the many national education reports. I part, however, the crisis is the product of the Reagan administration’s need to demonstrate its interest in education. The developing crisis was nurtured by special interest groups that potentially benefited from federal recognition of a crisis. The promise of federal dollars motivated associations of teachers, educational researchers, and social and natural scientists to contribute rhetoric consistent with the crisis mentality, thus further nurturing it. Is there really a crisis in math and science education? No, nor really. The rhetoric notwithstanding, there is no reasn to believe that the national security, economy, democratic way of life and science prominence are threatened by the low level of scientific and mathematical literacy in the general population.  [Emphasis added-PK.]

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