Study finds science education in Calif. lacking

January 25, 2011 8:53:25 PM PST
During the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama talked about investing more in education in order to compete with other countries. This comes as one recent report found America is seriously lagging behind in science with California faring worse than the national average.

Students at Lincoln High School students spent a class extracting protein from the muscles of different fish. Through their DNA, the students will be able to find out if any of the fish are related.

"This is what I would call authentic assessment; so rather than caring about memorizing the information, we are about teaching you how to apply your knowledge to solve problems," science teacher George Cachianes said.

That is what bio-tech companies are looking for. Unfortunately, a 2009 assessment, which specifically focused on science, found that 40 percent of high school seniors in this country perform below the basic science level.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) was given to fourth, eighth and 12th grade students nationwide. The results were that most of the students were not proficient in science.

Among the big states, Massachusetts ranked highest and California was among the lowest.

Noah Borrero is with the University of San Francisco's School of Teacher Education. He blames the 2002 No Child Left Behind federal law, which pushed science out of the classroom to make room for reading and math.

"We get to a point when we are so heavy in the reading, literature, math to get ready for these standardized tests that many things get left behind," he said.

The Obama administration is working on the next version of No Child Left Behind, now pending before Congress. The hope is that there will be more emphasis placed on science in all the nation's schools.