Parents and teachers must do a better job of preparing Michigan students for a world in which a good science education is crucial. Recent National Assessment of Educational Progress results show in 2011 only 38 percent of Michigan eighth graders demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the subject. Only 2 percent scored "advanced," while just 36 percent were graded "proficient."
While these results are slightly above the national average, they were little improved from 2009.
Michigan students will graduate in a state that needs researchers in the automobile, pharmaceutical and natural gas industries; environmental scientists; engineers - and a host of other professionals who require extensive scientific backgrounds. Yet many graduates who go on to trade schools or college will have to spend time learning the basics instead of the advanced skills they need to compete.
It makes no sense for schools and parents to have so little urgency in making sure students get the educations they need.
Clearly, other states are answering the call. It is possible to teach science in a way that prepares kids for standardized tests and the real world. If parents and teachers give them the tools they need, Michigan students are capable of performing as well as those from anywhere in the world.
But they must be made to understand how important science will be to them. And they must know their educators believe it is important, too.
With just a little more than one-third of eighth-graders proficient or better in science, Michiganders need to do much better.