Science & Society

Science and Society and how they get along.

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Location: Santa Barbara, California, United States

I'm a physicist and science consultant specialized in optics, lasers and optical engineering. This blog, StarkFX, looks at what applications physics is finding today. Or, if you are looking at my StarkEffects blog, it displays my views about and interest in the interface between society and science.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

For Parents

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. "The vast majority of top students enrolling in science and engineering schools, like MIT or CalTech, did not attend private High Schools".

This secret carries an implication. If some of the top high school students in the nation are coming from public high schools, then perhaps the public school system is not what is holding the nation's kids back. If some students are doing great, then the opportunity to do well in school and learn math, science, history and language skills exists even for public school students.

The real problem is what our students are doing after school. If we, as students, don't take the time to struggle with the material at home we won't master it. If we spend all of our time after school with entertainment instead of study, we will get the result we earned; entertained ignorance. To master skills in math, science, language, or any other subject, we have to get off the couch, away from the TV, away from the video games and actually put forth some effort. It really isn't all that hard to master these skills, but it doesn't just happen.

As a parent of teenagers myself I have seen how difficult it is for these young students to tear themselves away from the entertainment and focus on school, but I assure you the effort is worth it! As parents we need to facilitate that experience. If we don't ask our kids to focus on homework, or maybe even get away from the entertainment ourselves for a family study time (yes, there are mind expanding studies for us parents as well) then it isn't the school holding our students back, it is us holding them back.

Troy Stark