Efforts over the last decade to bring math achievement up have resulted in some improvements in the ACT math score. The state's academic standards in math have gotten high praise but officials must continue to search for efforts in teacher preparation and classroom practice, particularly in the early and middle years, that will further close the gap.
Science has had less attention, and it shows. Earlier this year, the state's science standards were blasted as “almost complete uselessness.” Education officials promised to take a fresh look at the standards. We hope that's a work in progress.
Educators (and many parents) would point out science education is taking a back seat to reading and math thanks at least in part to testing. Combine that with weak standards, and the challenge is clear.
Just last week, a speaker at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's State of the Schools event pointed out Oklahoma is behind the curve in educating its citizens for the growing knowledge economy. Education in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) is critical to catching up, yet science and math are our state's biggest academic struggles.
We're all for making sure high school students are taking courses that will help them be successful adults and that the content of the courses is where it should be. But the foundation our students need to prepare them for success in high school and increasingly math- and science-oriented economy needs repair.