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

smossavi6585 at charter.net smossavi6585 at charter.net
Thu Aug 2 16:58:04 MDT 2007

Jill Karsten's weighing in does provide some solace to those of us out in the trenches as it shows NSF is not totally disengaged from the issue. In light of her comments I would ask 2 questions:

1. How can those of us in the field weigh in effectively to assist in this process?

(Keep in mind that many of us do not have unlimited travel funds and cannot travel to conferences without a very clear justification for doing so.)

2. Why should academic institutions be concerned with science education?

(I do not ask this question cynically but from a very practical point of view. Why should Powdunk State care about NSF, NASA and NOAA money to promote science education when it will ultimately mean having to spend more of their own resources to sustain the effort? So long as H1B visas allow foreign talent into the country and research dollars are not tied to active participation in science education, there is little incentive for universities to care about such an initiative. 

Perhaps...if NSF, NOAA and NASA want to get serious participation they should develop a carrot that university administrators will not ignore. Develop a labeling system similar to the "Green lumber" or "dolphin safe tuna" registry for "science education safe" academic institutions. Those schools participating in a proactive way in science education would be labeled as such and be eligible for say a 2% increase in their overhead rate. Alternatively...you could make obtaining such a sci ed safe rating obligatory for RECEIVING the full overhead rate! A school facing a 25% cut in overhead from its research accounts would suddenly see the merit of science education I suspect. As a tax paying voter...I would be far more inclined to see my tax money going to an NSF that was willing to make science education a requirement for academic institutions in this fashion. Without it...well...a lot of scientific research looks like luxury spending in a time of other pressing needs. I have had this conversation with many ordinary people and often find myself in the position of having to defend the spending on science. Frankly...it is getting harder and harder to do!!!!)

What do people think? Dean Moosavi

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