textbooks is in direct conflict with the central goal of having students learn scientific knowledge with understanding.
SCHOOL SCIENCE REFLECTS THE INTELLECTUAL AND CULTURAL TRADITIONS THAT CHARACTERIZE THE PRACTICE OF CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE. To develop a rich knowledge of science and the natural world, students must become familiar with modes of scientific inquiry, rules of evidence, ways of formulating questions, and
Students should develop an understanding of what science is, what science is not, what science can and cannot do, and how science contributes to culture.
ways of proposing explanations. The relation of science to mathematics and to technology and an understanding of the nature of science should also be part of their education.
[See definition of science literacy]
An explicit goal of the National Science Education Standards is to establish high levels of scientific literacy in the United States. An essential aspect of scientific literacy is greater knowledge and understanding of science subject matter, that is, the knowledge specifically associated with the physical, life, and earth sciences. Scientific literacy also includes understanding the nature of science, the scientific enterprise, and the role of science in society and personal life. The Standards recognize that many individuals have contributed to the traditions of science and that, in historical perspective, science has been practiced in many different cultures.
Science is a way of knowing that is characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument, and skeptical review. Students should develop an understanding of what science is, what science is not, what science can and cannot do, and how science contributes to culture.
IMPROVING SCIENCE EDUCATION IS PART OF SYSTEMIC EDUCATION REFORM. National goals and standards contribute to state and local systemic initiatives, and the national and local reform efforts complement each other. Within the larger education system, we can view science education as a subsystem with both shared and unique components. The components include students and teachers; schools with principals, superintendents, and school boards; teacher education programs in colleges and universities; textbooks and textbook publishers; communities of parents and of students; scientists and engineers; science museums; business and industry; and legislators. The National Science Education Standards provide the unity of purpose and vision required to focus all of those components effectively on the important task of improving science education for all students, supplying a consistency that is needed for the long-term changes required.