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Why science matters

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Why science matters

A better education in science for your child can also mean better things for society by helping students develop into more responsible citizens who help to build a strong economy, contribute to a healthier environment, and bring about a brighter future for everyone. As Science for All Americans points out, a good science education help students "to develop the understandings and habits of mind they need to become compassionate human beings able to think for themselves and to face life head on. It should equip them also to participate thoughtfully with fellow citizens in building and protecting a society that is open, decent, and vital".

The more science-literate individuals are, the stronger their society can be. Specifically, the lessons and skills science gives us can have repercussions that help make for more responsible citizens, a strong economy, a healthier environment, and a brighter future for everyone. Here's how:

  • By producing more responsible citizens
    Students who have learned to think critically and have a healthy dose of skepticism can better make their own, informed decisions, which can make them more enlightened, informed voters and stronger consumers. Also, the sense of responsibility and caution that science provides - along with the understanding of how things work (be they chemical reactions, human development, or nutritional needs) – can help future parents to provide safe, healthy environments for their own children, and be more responsible pet owners and neighbors.
  • By helping to build a strong economy
    The communication, research, reporting, and collaboration skills that science provides can produce a generation of individuals who are better prepared for any career and can make greater contributions to society. Also, students who have a solid knowledge base in science will later be more open to emerging technologies and ideas that can boost businesses and stimulate the economy.
  • By contributing to global health
    Scientific achievements have led to longer, healthier, better lives. A generation that understands and honors or celebrates past achievements will welcome and pave the way for future discoveries and inventions that will improve physical and mental health. And a healthier society means a more productive society.
  • By contributing to a informed decisions that impact the world
    By emphasizing and explaining the dependency of living things on each other and on the physical environment, science fosters the kind of intelligent respect for nature that can inform decisions on the uses of technology to improve the world for humans and all living things.
  • By ensuring future support of scientific research and advancements
    A society aware of the benefits of science and technology will work to ensure it remains scientifically and technologically competitive. Also, a science-literate society will provide the necessary support, funding and promotion to ensure future generations continue to improve upon modern advances that benefit everyone.

Interested in more? Check out these additional resources!

  • Science for All Americans online
    http://www.project2061.org/tools/sfaaol/Intro.htm
    This introduction to Science for All Americans from Project 2061 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science explains why a good science education is essential for all citizens in a world increasingly shaped by science and technology.
  • National Science Education Standards
    http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/html/action.html
    The introduction to these national standards of the National Academies is a "call to action" to show how science education benefits society.
  • Science + Literacy Drug Education Partnership
    http://ehrweb.aaas.org/scilit/
    Find out about the Science + Literacy Drug Education Partnership project designed to improve access to health and science information for all people.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ooh.t01.htm
    This page from the BLS's 2002-03 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2000-2010 shows that of the 30 fastest growing occupations projected for 2000-2010, computer-related and health-related occupations – which require a solid understanding of science – comprise 27 out of the top 30 fields.
  • The nifty50
    http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/nsf50/nsfoutreach/htm/n50_z2/pages_z3/text_list.htm
    The nifty50 are inventions, innovations and discoveries funded by the National Science Foundation that have become commonplace in our lives.
  • How Stuff Works
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/
    The science page of the "How Stuff Works" site leads you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the science that is all around us.
  • Science history and science in society links
    http://echo.gmu.edu/center/
    This online information center is part of George Mason University's ECHO, "Exploring and Collecting History Online" and features a virtual library for the history of science, technology, and medicine.

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