Bioscience

Parents, kids don’t see need for math, science skills

November 12, 2007

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: Meris Stansbury, Assistant Editor, eSchool News] — With lawmakers and school leaders alike stressing the importance of math, science, and technology (MST) education in preparing students for 21st-century jobs and careers, one might assume that parents and students would agree these subjects are crucial to their future success. But a new report challenges this assumption. According to the report, titled “Important, But Not for Me: Parents and Students in Kansas and Missouri Talk About Math, Science, and Technology Education,” parents and students say they understand the importance of MST skills in general — but they don’t see these as important for themselves.

The report is based on a survey of about 2,600 parents and students in grades six through twelve from Kansas and Missouri public schools. It comes from Public Agenda, a nonprofit organization that conducts nonpartisan public policy research. And though its data are taken from a relatively small geographical sample, its findings could have important implications for school leaders nationwide. “The dilemma is really twofold,” says Jean Johnson, executive vice president of Public Agenda. “One is that parents, students, and local communities may be complacent about or even resist efforts to strengthen math and science education. Right now, most just don’t share leaders’ sense of urgency. The second is that many young people and their families may not recognize the vast and interesting opportunities available to students with strong math and science backgrounds. They just may not have absorbed how much the economy and future jobs are changing.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]