This past March, Concept Schools had the privilege of hosting Mr. Bill Badders, President of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), as a keynote speaker at the 1st Annual STEM Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Badders addressed the audience of over 300 STEM educators and industry experts on the topic of “Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core, Literacy, and You.” He also addressed the need to broaden the STEM pipeline, and to start early.
Mr. Badders, a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the Fulbright Memorial Teacher Fund award, brought his four decades of experience in science education to the discussion at STEM Conference, a new premier forum for experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math who are dedicated to advancing high-quality K-12 STEM education.
Specifically, he addressed the need to get kids interested in science at a very young age and diversify the pipeline of STEM college majors and workers. “We often think of the pipeline in STEM as happening starting in high school. The pipeline starts in preschool and kindergarten,” said Badders. He noted that when schools fail to address science education in elementary school, “it is often too late when we think about how we’re going to get kids interested and involved in science education.”
Startlingly, he cited research that shows that “most kids between 3rd and 5th grade don’t believe that they can be scientists. For minority children, for minority females, it’s 2nd grade, and for minority males, it’s 1st grade.”
Concept Schools, which organizes STEM Conference, is a STEM-focused, college-prep charter school network with 35 schools in the Midwest that specializes in serving low-income and minority urban neighborhoods.
Mr. Badders acknowledged that not all students must pursue a science major or career, but that “appreciation for the beauty and wonder of science …to continue to learn science outside their school, and to enter careers of their choice” are essential, and that “All children need a good background in science.”
To hear his thoughts on the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, and the importance of literacy to understanding science, view his full keynote speech above.