Podcast of Interest: Lab Out Loud, Episode 4. “The Science Education Myth”May 30, 2010
This is the first post in a series that will be pre-titled ‘Podcasts of Interest.’ In this series, I’ll point out podcasts that have interesting or valuable science or mathematics content. That content will be of interest to students, instructors, and administrators, alike. The first few posts will come from Lab Out Loud, a podcast of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Its two hosts, secondary science teachers, keep it light and fun but aren’t afraid of wading into deeper waters, too. In the first post, I pick their Episode 4: The Science Education Myth in which they talk about whether or not the U.S. is producing enough future STEM professionals.
On May 28th, the U.S. House passed a bill (H.R. 2772) that will reauthorize the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act of 2007. This Act can be seen as a response to the National Academies of Sciences report Rising Above the Gathering Storm which argued that America’s international economic competitiveness and prospect for future growth is jeopardized by its underproduction of STEM professionals. The America COMPETES Act steered additional national resources to reverse this perceived underproduction.
In this episode of Lab Out Loud, the hosts speak with Vivek Wadha, the author of an article that calls into question the assumptions of Rising Above the Gathering Storm. They have a wide-ranging and thoughtful discussion that is a welcome tonic to the often politicized hype associated to STEM talent expansion efforts.
Yes, I am one of those people who hype and sell the need for more future STEM professionals. But I’m also a scientist, and I welcome the chance to understand the perspective of the loyal opposition. Much of the criticism of America’s STEM underproduction seems to come from STEM professionals, and they are exactly the people who stand to gain from many aspects of the America COMPETES Act. If we care about finding the ‘right’ solutions to the problems that face us in this age of a flat, gloablized world, shouldn’t we all want to think critically about everyone’s arguments on the topic?
So this podcast is a must-listen for everyone who has an investment in preparing future STEM professionals and related public policy. All are welcome to sound-off in the comments here, or start a tweet-storm on Twitter, FriendFeed, or Buzz. Look for my Google Profile to find the many ways to start a conversation with me.