When you mix a corporate agenda with "science," you get oddly unscientific practices:
"Obtain and communicate information about..."
The above phrase appears nine times in the performance expectations of the prepubescent crowd (4th grade and under) in the draft of the Next Generation Science Standards. You could look it up.
Obtaining and communicating information is what business folks do. Science is not in the business of information, it's in the business of grasping how the natural world works. It starts with observation.
We're talking about children. The committee might consider renting one out, and setting it up on a beach somewhere. Observe what a young child does as she runs, crouches, runs, then crouches some more. She's observing. Sure, it's undirected, and yes, she'll need context and language and technological tools to help her along--but what she doesn't need is a formal education that confounds science with obtaining and communicating information.
We don't need science teachers and business leaders leading the charge here, we need child development specialists, we need pediatricians, we need Mommies and Daddies. Heck, we need could use a few children on the committee.
We got too much Howland Owl, a pedantic pricklish sort, and not enough Porky Pine, a wise, if cynical, denizen of the swamp. I'd make Grundoon the chile woodchunk or his sister Li'l Honey Bunny Ducky Downy Sweetie Chicken Pie Li'l Everlovin' Jelly Bean the chair.
Francis W. Parker had a few words to say about this long before public schools fell prey to the agenda of careerists more interested in the dubious concept of "global economy" than the interests of America and its children:
I wish to earnestly protest against making school-children wander though a long desert and wilderness of words before a few of them, who intellectually survive, can have the inestimable privileges of direct observation found in the laboratories of universities. When pupils in the lower schools study science throughout the course there will be a hundred students in our universities where now there is one.Francis W. Parker, Talks on Pedagogics
Maybe, just maybe, elementary school teachers know a tad more about the Grundoons of this world than do Eli, Bill, and Arne. Maybe, just maybe, they'll do what they have always done when faced with nonsense imposed from on high.
Put a nice poster of George Washington on the window, close the door,
Yes, of course, communication is a huge part of what scientists do--
but it's what they do after the science is done, to share their observations, to keep them honest.
The Walt Kelly cartoons used without permission, but hopefully fall under educational use.
I hope the Kelly family agrees. Let me know if you don't--we've chatted before. =)