Science After School: Sizzle or Steak? [Guest Post]
Chicago journalist Maureen Kelleher writes in with her take on after school science:
In terms of buzz and grant money, efforts to keep kids learning outside the regular school day are hot. Efforts to build a pipeline of future American engineers, scientists and mathematicians are even hotter. Last week in Chicago, these two trends converged in the first national conference on science and technology in out-of-school time. "We think it's a crisis when we have to use all of our visas to get engineers," Motorola's Eileen Sweeney told the crowd of 250 at the opening reception. "We think you're part of the solution to that crisis."
A 2006 study published in the journal Science showed students with an interest in science before high school were two to three times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree in science or engineering. So far, however, spending on out-of-school time science is small. EdWeek reported that in fiscal 2006, the feds spent $173 million on informal STEM education compared to $574 million on K-12 STEM programs.
What do you think? Are kids more likely to get hooked on science inside or outside the classroom?