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Upgrading basic science education.

Upgrading basic science education

The National Science Foundation (NSF) last month launcheda new, $25 million program to improve science education. According to NSF, the program will be aimed at producing "a consistent and coherent pattern of basic science education throughout elementary and high school.' As a first step, the foundation awarded $6.6 million in grants to three private research centers that will work with textbook publishers and selected schools to develop new teaching materials for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade.

"We are failing to provide an adequate background, anadequate introduction and an adequate level of science literacy for the population as a whole,' says Bassam Shakhashiri, NSF's assistant director for science and engineering education. "In a technological world, where we compete with equally sophisticated countries, we cannot afford to focus only on the next generation of Nobel Prize winners.'

Over the next decade, NSF expects to spend a total of $25million on the project. Participating publishers are required to match NSF funds. They will be responsible for testing the new materials in classrooms, for training teachers in their use and eventually for marketing the curricula.

Among the announced grants was a $2.2 million award to theTechnical Education Research Centers in Cambridge, Mass. Staff at those centers will work with the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., which will contribute at least an additional $2.5 million, to develop science units for grades four through six and a telecommunications system that would allow students in about 4,000 schools throughout the country to gather and share data on topics such as acid rain.
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Title Annotation:National Science Foundation program
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 14, 1987
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