50° Good Afternoon
50° Good Afternoon

Letters: Thoughts on new science standards

A scientist in a lab.

A scientist in a lab. Photo Credit: iStock

In reference to the Dec. 13 news article “Changes for science,” I applaud Long Island educators Mary Loesing and Joyce Thornton Barry for their comments, but they do not go far enough.

Simply changing state standards and requirements is not enough to encourage schoolchildren to be interested in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. It’s a good beginning.

My organization, the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, conducted a study in 2014 and 2015 that showed that 85 percent of guidance counselors are not comfortable talking with their students about STEM careers, and 91 percent of parents feel the same. CSTL is a nonprofit organization that provides models and strategies for teachers worldwide.

We must work with guidance counselors and parents to let them in on the great STEM careers that may await their kids. In addition, nothing is more relevant for kids than to connect with people in the STEM fields. As an educator and a scientist, I see the value of bringing students to where the science is happening.

Ray Ann Havasy, Port Washington


In a column about New York’s new science standards, Lane Filler demonstrates what has become a major problem in American journalism [“Science still outpacing New York education,” Opinion, Dec. 17]. Journalists comment on many subjects of which they have little knowledge and have done little research. They shape a public narrative by repeating memes that have become popular in their limited circles.

Filler tells us that New York must revise its science standards more often. He then goes on to list several changes that have occurred in science over 20 years, as if these changes were not being taught. But he demonstrated his profound ignorance of the subject by doing so.

Standards are seldom a prescription for exactly what is taught. They are a framework for how a subject is taught and what we can expect in general that our children know when they graduate.

The sad part is, these are the same people who tell us that education is failing, even here on Long Island, where every year we see finalists in national science competitions. In the process, they are destroying one of America’s greatest treasures, its public schools.

Joel Herman, Melville


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.