When the space race began with the Soviet Union’s launch of the low-Earth-orbit satellite Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, the United States responded by moving to refocus its national educational priorities from liberal arts and manufacturing to pursuits in “scientific fields” such as physics and mathematics.
As a result of that push, the U.S. became the global leader in technological research and advancement, with much of the work done by home-grown innovators. But now, well into the 21st century, the rest of the world—in many important respects such as student performance in math and science—has caught up and is racing ahead. Recent international comparisons show the U.S. ranks 25th in math and 17th in science proficiency among students.
What’s at risk, according to the National Science and Mathematics Institute is “America’s knowledge capital, which fuels innovation and economic growth.” The U.S. Department of Education says, “In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but (also) by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.
“These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.”
The Currie-Gregg Observatory and its Friends of the Observatory supporters back the efforts of the Enid Public Schools to bring STEM programs into local classrooms. We believe that the observatory can be an important resource in helping all teachers inspire their students to discover STEM-centric courses in the classroom, pursue STEM-related degrees in college, and embark on STEM-influenced careers in their professional lives.
Few things in science are more transformative than the view to be found through the refractive lens or reflective mirror of a high-powered telescope. A closeup view of craters on the moon or the rings of Saturn can spark the imagination of a young person and turn it into the eternal flame of a lifetime’s passion for discovery.
We Will Find Stars.