No time for excellence (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)


No Time for Excellence

— A parent’s perspective on high school science research


Special to the Ledger-Enquirer

June 7, 2014

Two things were very clear at the recent Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. First, a lot of very serious, very credible research is being done by high school students. And second, inspiration and guidance for scientific research ain’t coming from the classroom.
Out of seven million qualifying research projects from around the globe, 1,783 students made it to the international event in mid-May. Project displays filled the L.A. Convention Center in a dozen rows, each the length of a football field.

Walk down one row, there were scores of projects dealing with electrical engineering. Another row, biochemistry. Another, computer science. Seventeen categories in all. And these are not cute projects about which toothpaste gets teeth whiter. These are years-long work in … statistical analysis of cancer-promoting genes, remediation of environmental disasters, exploration of synthetic antibiotics, development of a faster test for kidney disease, optical computing, spine stabilization for children with scoliosis, and on and on.

But one floor above this brainfest was a conference room crammed with teachers who agreed it’s virtually impossible to foster this sort of work in today’s schools

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