Here’s something that’s been bothering me…
So I’m on this committee for a Science Rodeo at my kid’s school. It’s going to be fun; lots of easy experiments, the UT Physics Circus is stopping by, the middle school science fair honorable mentions will be there (winners have their next level of competition that same night), prizes, pizza, you name it. I’m in charge of coordinating the take home experiment kits. Anyway, this is all to get the kids excited about science and enhance the curriculum at the school. And the problem is….?
Ok, let’s start with the parent volunteers. Or total lack thereof. We’re getting the “I don’t know anything about science” riff from so many of them. Hello? History major! It’s not like we’re doing particle physics here. The stuff we’re doing is like pH testing with yellow paper and ammonia, a cantilevered bridge, keeping a paper towel dry in a cup. You know, super basic stuff. It’s all very cool, and all very easy, and all on Bill Nye or Steve Spangler’s websites. But if I hear “science is hard” one more time I may just lose it. And we need volunteers for stuff like shopping for supplies and crowd control. Don’t need to know much about science for that.
Next is the administration. Apparently, we are to do this in such a way as to not cause the teachers to have to lift a finger. Now I understand that the teachers have a lot on their plates, but they don’t even want the teachers to have to collect the take home kit results so that the kids can get a prize. Or mention it “too much” in class. Attendance by the teachers is not even stressed. It was rumored that the teachers couldn’t offer extra credit points for attendance. So the parent committee is hoping that we can get some of the teachers there that night, if for no other reason than to participate with their students and have fun. In the principal’s defense, she will be there and so will her husband with an astronomy display. But the bureaucratic message she’s sending is odd.
This gets a big ol’ WTF from me. This is the same school that lost its top ranking because of the results on the 5th grade science TAKS. It was our principal’s first year, and boy people were calling for her head. They lost the ranking because not enough students made “commended” on the test. Anyway, you’d think more people would have jumped on this idea to stimulate interest in science. I’m still concerned that we aren’t going to get a good turnout of kids. We have about 975 kids in the school, and I think we’ll be lucky to get 250.
I just get baffled when we (as a society) talk out of both sides of our mouths like this. We need our children to learn and do well, but when it comes time to facilitate it, we just don’t show up. What does this say to the kids?
Ok, rant over. I know I’m preaching to the choir here with these thoughts. I just had to get them off of my chest.