FLDC members Shirin Vossoughi and Megan Bang, along with Daniel Morales-Doyle and Sepehr Vakil, are the authors of an op-ed in Truthout, “In an Era of Pandemic and Protest, STEM Education Can’t Pretend to Be Apolitical”.
“Across the U.S., the push to reopen schools is predicated on troubling beliefs about schools and families. Time at home is assumed to result in “learning loss” because our institutions measure learning and achievement by standardized test scores, and do not consider students’ families as a source of education. Besides chasing test score gains, the driving goal for reopening schools is facilitating parents’ return to work — regardless of the health consequences for all involved.
However, this summer’s powerful protests against police violence and racism have pushed our public discourse to go beyond these misguided calls for a return to normalcy and reopening of the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic exposes the United States — the nation often upheld as the leader in scientific innovation — as unable (or unwilling) to use its vast resources to care for its people at the most basic human level. Yet the country rapidly mobilized its military and police to repress outrage against deep, persistent and violent anti-Blackness.
As science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education researchers, we anticipate that efforts to restore the damaged global image of the U.S. will double down on an enduring paradigm which positions STEM education as operating in service of U.S. economic and military supremacy. We see this “return to normalcy” as a failure of leadership in this moment. It assumes that the status quo was desirable or healthy for students and communities and represents a massive missed opportunity to reimagine the deeper purposes of STEM education, and education more broadly. In fact, one reason for our current situation is the hyper focus on a nationalistic STEM pipeline that does not train professionals or educate students toward our collective social and ecological well-being.”
Read the full article here. Art by Lauren Walker.