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ERIC Number: ED533792
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 90
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Priority for California's Future: Science for Students. Analysis of Public Opinion Research. Strengthening Science Education in California
Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning
California's public schools have struggled since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, and today face enormous challenges to try to regain lost quality and standing as a national education leader. In light of the current economic crisis, competition for limited resources is fierce and the pressure is on to eliminate all but the basic "Three Rs"--especially in the lower grades--narrowing the curriculum and putting quality science education at risk. In this difficult environment, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has funded Strengthening Science Education in California, an initiative not only to prevent the erosion of the teaching of science in California's schools, but indeed to enhance it. The role of Belden Russonello & Stewart in this work is to document the public's awareness of and attitudes about the level of teaching and learning science and its importance. This information will provide policy makers, the media, and others with an understanding of how Californians value the teaching of science and what they would like to see done to improve it in their public schools. After reviewing the limited existing opinion data related to this issue, the researchers designed and conducted a statewide survey and a series of focus groups, which are reported in this paper. The focus groups were conducted in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco from June 8 to 10, 2010 among parents of students in grades K through 12, voters who do not have children in school, and voters who work in science-related fields. The research reveals that Californians already believe that science education is very important for "all" children at all grade levels, regardless of their higher education or career goals. Parents and the general public believe that students should begin learning science early in their education, because it exposes students to how the world works and teaches critical thinking skills. While Californians greatly value science education, they have little detailed knowledge about science programs in California public schools. Parents assume that their children are receiving a quality science education, but many are unsure. They also say there is room for improvement. Teachers are viewed as the key to a high quality science education. Californians believe that the successful teaching of science depends on well-prepared, well-trained, and enthusiastic educators. When talking about making improvements to science education, Californians say that more training, more resources, and better equipment will have the greatest impact. Appended are: (1) Detailed Methodology; (2) Crosstab Tables; and (3) Questionnaire with Response Totals. [This research was conducted with the participation of Belden Russonello & Stewart and Stone's Throw Communications. For "A Priority for California's Future: Science for Students. Summary Report. Strengthening Science Education in California," see ED533791.]
Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. 133 Mission Street Suite 220, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Tel: 831-427-3628; Fax: 831-427-1612; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning; University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Hall of Science; SRI International; Inverness Research
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Proposition 13 (California 1978)