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Parents feel schools don't put enough emphasis on science
THURSDAY, JUNE 05, 2014 14:43 PM

Parents used to tell their kids to go be doctors in order to earn lots of money, but now they encourage a degree in engineering. Though quite different, both fields require a thorough understanding of science. Engineers nowadays also need complex computer knowledge. However, according to a survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, many parents feel that schools don't put enough emphasis on traditional or computer science. 

Emphasize to succeed
The poll asked parents whether they felt schools placed an appropriate amount of emphasis on certain subjects, and the results were broken down by grade level. The three grade groupings included K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Parents with children in grades K-5 felt more strongly than parents of other grades that science lacked emphasis (29 percent). Computer and technology concerns were about level across the board, as 23 percent of K-5 parents, 23 percent of 6-8 parents, and 26 percent of high school parents believed that the subject didn't get enough focus in schools. 

Concerns about science, computers and other subjects influenced whether parents believed their children's schools prepared them for college or the workforce. Of those surveyed, 42 percent said that no, school wasn't preparing them. Parents of girls (49 percent) were more inclined to say school wasn't preparing their child for college or the workforce than parents of boys (37 percent). Such responses seem odd, given that the Common Core State Standards are meant to guide schools to choose curriculum that will prepare kids for their futures. 

Combating science shortcomings 
Several states have begun efforts to create a set of science standards that would help schools emphasize the subject. According to Education Week, Kentucky has provisionally adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This set of science-specific goals was created by The National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Achieve. The standards consist of a K-12 framework that will guide teachers and districts as they select science curriculum. New Jersey is also debating whether or not to adopt the NGSS in addition to the Common Core, which primarily focuses on mathematics and English/language arts.

Meanwhile, teachers across the country have tried to make their science lessons as engaging as possible in order to get students interested in the subject. Creative educators incorporate hands-on activities to teach students about computer and traditional sciences. For example, students might have to construct a circuit to learn about electricity rather than just read about the theory.