20 Science Questions
that U.S. presidential candidates were asked in 2016
20 Science Questions for the 2016 Presidential Candidates --by Shawn Otto for sciencedebate.org; See the questions here: #8.
The rank of American students for science and math performance has fallen in comparison to students from other nations. My administration would work towards assuring that all students including female and minority students have an equal opportunity to learn STEM topics by promoting a basic curriculum for all public undergraduate schools and charter or private undergraduate schools.
All children should have an equal opportunity to learn what is considered to be standard information in science and technology. An equal opportunity however does not mean that all children will do equally well in the same areas of study. Students should be allowed to fail if that is their skill set and they should be guided towards classes that fit within their natural abilities better and that they will be more likely to pass if they apply themselves.
And if that is just a basic life skills curriculum then they would at least have gained skills in caring for themselves and they might also not have gained a sense of worthlessness and feeling a failure due to having been pushed to pass tests and a curriculum that they just really weren’t capable of passing.
Other children whose skills and natural abilities allow them to read subjects more advanced than the rest of the class should also be encouraged to do independent studies that challenge their natural abilities and advance their learning instead of having to fit in with the rest of the class focused on meeting only the standardized testing goals.
Homogenizing our students into all being average test takers good at passing average test goals has indeed been found to have helped bring up the grades of the middle group of students but instead of "leaving no child behind" may instead be encouraging students who are struggling to pass classes to just drop out instead of trying to work harder at something they aren't capable of achieving.
Not all students are C students, some are going to only be capable of an 'E' for some types of classwork, so turning that into and E for effort in a Life Skills focused class seems more sensible then leaving it as an E for failure or for unExcused Absence.
And overly focusing the whole class on preparing all of the students to be able to pass standardized tests, may be holding back the more gifted students who might have to pretend to be paying attention in a class that is paced too slowly for their learning needs. They might be better suited to an Advanced Placement class in a STEM topic, or an internship in a local business working in a STEM industry - or simply helping tutor other students within their own classroom, as teaching others can be a good way to learn something more thoroughly oneself.