Bug Girl pointed me toward this website asking Why Is Science Important? Oddly enough, this is a question I've been pondering a lot this year. While I have my own ideas around the topic, my job this year has shown me that as a state, we have no cohesive purpose when it comes to science. There are lots of cliques each pursuing their own goals. In some ways, this is all right. We don't all have to be doing the same things at the same time. We serve different stakeholders and fill various needs.
However, I do think that it would be beneficial to have some agreement about why we're doing it. This is the piece I'm missing as I travel around the state. I never hear anyone speak to the purpose of science education. Why should I care about one particular group's goals if they leave their mission up to my interpretation?
We will never have agreement here on some things. There is a large number of people who believe that the entity of science is more important than kids and teachers. What's best for science is their bottom line. And me? I and many others have the reverse viewpoint: Kids first. Science second. Either way, there must be something we feel is essential about learning science in the first place.
So maybe this question just needs to become part of my repertoire as I'm out and about. I wonder if I'll be surprised/repulsed/affirmed by the answers. More importantly, I wonder if there will be some common ground.