Dr. George “Pinky” Nelson of Western Washington University wrote the following Op-Ed piece in The Bellingham Herald on Saturday, February 6, 2010.
Click HERE to read the entire piece- an excerpt is below.
Now is not the time to give up on school reform
As I grew up, I dreamt of being many things, including an astronaut. I was fortunate to attend schools (in Minnesota) that encouraged, challenged and prepared me for success in college, work and beyond, and in 1978 realized my childhood dream, eventually flying on three NASA space missions.
When I retired from NASA, I chose to dedicate myself to improving the education system. Schools should help each student obtain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to stay in school and pursue whatever path they might choose after high school graduation, be it an astronaut or auto technician. My current work focuses on reforms in both K-12 and higher education to prepare excellent mathematics and science teachers for 21st century schools.
Regardless of the path a student chooses, mathematics and science literacy – the power to think clearly, solve problems, and design innovative solutions – is critical for every student’s future. It is hard to imagine a living wage job in the next 10-20 years that won’t require technical knowledge and skills far beyond those required today, but not beyond the capacity of our children to learn.