[CESElist] Statistics Comparing Numbers of "ES" Majors?

Karsten, Jill L. jkarsten at nsf.gov
Thu Aug 2 12:59:37 MDT 2007

I have been following this dialog with interest, but have not had an
opportunity to weigh in, due to other things that keep showing up on my
desk.  I do, however, want to add in some information that is pertinent
to Eldridge's nice summary below:
1) The GEO community should certainly focus on having geoscience
coursework at the high school level be accepted as a graduation
requirement, laboratory science, and/or acceptable university admission
criterion, but we are too small of a community to foment some of the big
changes really needed.  I think it is thus important that we try to
piggyback on some of the science education reform efforts that have been
catalyzed by the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, which is being
pursued rather aggressively.  If you are not aware of the upcoming
conference on "Chaning the Course of Science Education" in late October,
sponsored by the National Science Resources Center, you might want to
check it out.
More importantly, there is an invitation only conference going on a
month before that is co-sponsored by the CCSSO.
2) I think an additional point we should all be making is that
geoscience, which is commonly taught at middle school, serves as a
'gatekeeper' to student interest in pursuing high school science, and
thus is relevant to the discussions about general STEM education reform
- the physics, chemistry, and biology communities should care about the
quality of geoscience education at the middle school level because it
directly affects the attitudes of the students who enter their classes.
Another important point has to do with 21st century workforce skills -
Earth system science education and inquiry-based education, which is a
forte of ESS, are highly relevant to what employers say they need.
3) Re. California:  NSF has supported a pilot collaboration between
Wendy Van Norden and Ray Ingersoll that has created an Honors level high
school Earth System Science class for which students at her (private)
high school who will be given UCLA credit - early going, but perhaps a
model for beginning to change practice in California?  And TERC has also
been working on Honors level classwork, with labs - we need to push to
disseminate these, when they are mature.
4) Re. inquiry:  As long as we are in a NCLB environment of
accountability, there is going to be push-back on trying to get more
inquiry in the classroom, in spite of the fact that everyone knows it is
the right way to go.  We should be getting our ducks in a row so we can
pounce in a (hopefully) more favorable environment post 2008.
5) There is currently about $27 million in the FY08 House appropriations
bill to support climate change education (it would be going to NSF,
NOAA, and NASA).  The agencies are currently trying to figure out how
they might coordinate such efforts and quickly implement programs,
should that money actually survive the appropriations process.  So,
Eldridge is absolutely correct - we have some real opportunity right
now, and I truly believe the community needs to be well-aligned to
capitalize on it.  We need to have common talking points, a clear battle
plan and implementation strategy for focusing on those key issues where
we can have some impact for the GEO community (e.g., the UC system
framework docouments), and some heroes who are looking for ways we can
capitalize on the bigger STEM reform efforts.
Jill Karsten, Ph.D. 
Program Director, Diversity and Education 
Office of the Assistant Director 
Geosciences Directorate 
National Science Foundation 
(703) 292-8500 (voice) 
(703) 292-9042 (fax) 
jkarsten at nsf.gov (email) 


From: ceselist-bounces at mailman.ucar.edu
[mailto:ceselist-bounces at mailman.ucar.edu] On Behalf Of Eldridge Moores
Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 2:34 PM
To: Kovach, Russell
Cc: ceselist at mailman.ucar.edu
Subject: Re: [CESElist] Statistics Comparing Numbers of "ES" Majors?

Good idea.  As I understand it, California has state standards mandating
earth and space science, and they have a test that the students must
take at the end of the 9th grade.  However, the UC system has not yet
gotten around to accepting Earth and Space science, but for exceptional
circumstances, for satisfaction of the "d" laboratory science admission
requirement.  It will slowly come, however, I'm sure.  

At the risk of repeating things that have already been said, several
comments come to mind from the exchanges over the past few days:

1.  The NAS/NRC 1996 National Science Education Standards, the AAAS 1993
Benchmarks for Science Literacy; Project 2061, and the Council of
Scientific Society Presidents all have Earth and Space Sciences on an
equal footing with Life and Physical Sciences.   We should all
emphasizing this point.  

2. We need to accept that it's not just Earth or Earth System science
that we are talking about.   We also need to incorporate the space
sciences, as do the AAAS and NAS/NRC.  NASA's space program is
dominantly a planetary exploration program that in effect is doing
geology of planetary surfaces.  That's part of our package.

3. The idea that Earth and Space sciences are not laboratory sciences is
absurd.  There is nothing that requires that the students be in a
laboratory.  The laboratory is the Earth, the planets, the Solar System,
the cosmos.  Inquiry-based science is what this is all about.

4. The whole issue of climate change and global warming is specifically
an earth science issue, and we should grab it and hammer on that fact.
This is probably the most critical general scientific issue of anyone's
life at the moment.   ESS (Earth and Space Sciences) people should run
with this topic!  Where else is a student going to get the knowledge
he/she needs to deal with this issue?

Best regards,

On Aug 2, 2007, at 8:37 AM, Kovach, Russell wrote:

	As a result of this recent flurry of discussion concerning
acceptance of Earth Systems Science as a "true" science course I am
curious... is anybody aware of studies done comparing the number of
Geology / Meteorology / Astronomy / Oceanography majors from states like
NY or NC with compulsory Earth Science to states that do not have such a
course requirement?  These data, combined with workplace and
professional statistics (how many "Earth Science" jobs are available as
compared to true Chemistry and/or Physics-centered jobs), could go a
long way towards convincing state boards of education and "tertiary"
institutions to accept Earth Systems Science as equal to the
Bio/Chem/Physics triumvirate.


	Food for thought... and perhaps a nice little research project
if anybody is so inclined.
	Russell W. Kovach
	Science Teacher
	C. Milton Wright High School
	1301 N. Fountain Green Road
	Bel Air, MD 21015
	(410) 638 - 4110 phone
	(410) 638 - 4114 fax
	CESElist mailing list
	CESElist at mailman.ucar.edu

Eldridge M. Moores, Ph.D., D.Sc
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Vice President, International Union of Geological Sciences
Geology Department
One Shields Avenue
University of California
Davis, CA 95616-8605 USA
Tel: 1-530-752-0352
Email: moores at geology.ucdavis.edu

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.ucar.edu/pipermail/ceselist/attachments/20070802/d4df5538/attachment-0001.html

More information about the CESElist mailing list