Education Game-Changer: How You Can Do the Same Thing in Your State

By John Droz

I received a LOT of positive feedback (and essentially nothing negative) from my recent post: Education Game-Changer. Thank you for your support!

It was also gratifying that several people asked me to outline how this came about so they could do something similar in their state. In response, I put together the sanitized version below. (If you want more details, email me.)

BTW, from here on I’m assuming that readers know WHY it’s important to fix the Scientific Method and Critical Thinking deficiencies in our K-12 schools. This commentary is about HOW I was able to make good progress in fixing these. If you want a refresher on the WHY part, please read my Education Report.

Here are some suggestions to improve your chances of winning the exceptionally important fight to resurrect the Scientific Method (and fixing the Critical Thinking omission is similar) in our K-12 schools:

1 – Dropping the Scientific Method (and not teaching Critical Thinking) are not isolated, unrelated matters. These actions are part of a broader plan to purposefully undermine American education. Carefully read my Education Report for details.

It is extremely important to appreciate the connections to both of these with the Framework and NGSS. The more you understand that, the better the success you’ll have in winning both of these challenges.

2 – Expect that the opposition will put forward some predictable “justifications” for scrapping the Scientific Method. It is imperative to master the answers to these, in advance. See my earlier Substack commentary where five (5) likely objections are made and each one is politely and effectively answered.

3Know where the power lies. In almost every state, there is a State Board of Education (SBOE) that oversees the state’s K-12 Education Department. There are usually 15± members on this Board.

Getting even just a few of these fired up on this issue can be extremely helpful. Two to four educated and committed Board members will usually be enough to sway the entire Board!

The SBOE is key as it determines the subject standards, approves textbooks, and oversees statewide exams — for all K-12 courses and for ALL K-12 students (public, private, and home-schooled).

4 – An additional level of power in most states is the State Legislature. They often have the authority to mandate that the state Education Department teach (or not teach) certain things.

Check out the education-related statutes in your state to see what they have already legislated — and consider submitting a bill to mandate something about the Scientific Method (and Critical Thinking).

5The more allies that you can develop, the better. Parents, some teachers, scientists, engineers, conservative organizations, farmers, business owners, etc. are the most likely candidates.

Your goal is to get these people to write statewide op-eds, letters to the editor, contact State Board of Election members, Legislators, etc. More publicity is good!

6I’d be glad to assist. E.g., I’ve put together a 30-minute slide presentation that helps explain what needs to be done and why. If you can get your state education department leaders interested, I can give this as an online presentation to them.

7Take advantage of the reality that you have a winning hand here! Most citizens remember being taught the Scientific Method and they are in favor of it. However, they are unaware that it is now scrapped. Inform them of this!

Likewise, the public is supportive of Critical Thinking. They need to be told that not only it is not happening, but children are being taught the opposite — robotic conformity.

The bottom line is that there are few things more important to our survival than what our children are being taught EVERY day. Since (so far) almost no US conservative organizations have prioritized fixing the curriculum, it is left to citizens to get informed and then speak up to insist that this be fixed.

Margaret Meade has two relevant quotes: “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think” and “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

This commentary was first published at John Droz’s Substack, Critically Thinking About Select Societal Issues, August 2, 2023.

CO2 Coalition Member John Droz is a NC resident and politically independent physicist. He retired when he was 34 and over the last few decades has been actively involved in a variety of national science policy matters.

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