Skip to main content.
Banner ucb link LHS link

The Challenge

Improving science education in Bay Area schools will require support from policymakers, educators, and the larger community.

Several factors impede districts, schools, and teachers in their efforts to support the improvement of elementary science education. Further, California schools, in general, and the Bay Area schools, in specific, serve many students who have exceptional educational needs, including a significant percentage of children who are in the process of learning English and/or live in poverty. Many Bay Area students are also from ethnic or racial groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in science fields. While some schools and districts recognize and plan to pursue opportunities for improving science education, others struggle with the pressures of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that has rendered attention to science a low priority and the new materials and assessments inconsequential. As concluded in a recent national study,11 NCLB has focused attention on literacy and math and increased the pressure at Program Improvement (PI) schools to perform in these two subject areas. This state of affairs has exacerbated the already low priority of science in the curriculum. Thus, in order to influence California students’ science performance, policymakers, educators, and the larger community all have roles to play. Policymakers need to find ways to invest in broader capacity for improving science education; science-rich educational institutions (e.g. museums, science centers, universities, research labs, etc.) need to find ways to coordinate their efforts to support Bay Area schools and districts; and all need to find ways to work together to build on existing efforts, create new opportunities, and overcome current barriers.

Return to Home Page