Don't diss Science

This morning, my wife and I had the displeasure of hearing a school administrator show some disrespect for Science. I admit that we are pretty biased towards STEM: I majored in Computer Science and my wife majored in biochemistry and teaches Physics. But, even in consideration of this, I was alarmed by this person's comment that Science could take somewhat of a back seat to Mathematics and English at the elementary school level.

In my opinion, English language skills are vitally important. If you don't understand language, it makes it pretty darn difficult to communicate. And, in today's world, it pays to know a good bit of Math. At the same time, Science is quite complementary to both of these subjects and brings along a few good tidbits of its own.

Science is a perfect application of mathematics and language skills because doing it properly requires one to weave together both domains. One needs to use math to analyze the data and present it (e.g., charts and graphs) and then use written communication to recount the hypothesis, results, and explanation of what happened. The resulting report has to be clear and concise so that others can understand the research should they need to replicate the experiment or build upon it in order to accomplish their own goals.

Furthermore, Science is all about analysis and critical thinking. In today's sound-bite and put-an-ad-everywhere-you-can-possibly-stick-it infested culture, I am 150% (yeah, I'm gonna take some mathematical license here) for anything that gets people to pause and peel back the onion a little to figure out what's really going on. More importantly, I support any effort that establishes critical thinking habits in children -- the younger, the better. It's not like the other side is playing fair; politicians don't kiss babies because they have nothing else better to do and those colorful, sugary cereals aren't mid-shelf in the supermarket because they had nowhere else to put them.

Perhaps if that administrator had taken more science, he would have been able to think about what was about to come out of his mouth before he stuck his foot in there. The saddest part for me is that these are the types of people that are tasked with making the tough decisions as school finances get the squeeze.

My only advice: keep your critical thinking hat on and tell your STEM teachers, "Thank you!"

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