Science is going to play a central role in solving every problem Texas faces in our immediate future: population (size and age distribution), pollution, energy, economics, health care, etc. And these solutions are not going to be off-the-shelf results from established scientific laws. New tools and techniques are going to be needed to solve new problems. People at the beginning of the 20th century could no more imagine the scientific marvels needed to get us to 2000 than we can imagine the ones needed to get us to 2100.
Companies looking to expand or move, seriously consider the employment base of potential locations. Educating students with sound science at the grade school and college level is a serious factor in attracting and keeping high-tech, well-paying companies to Texas. Cities, states, and countries that fail to emphasize and teach good science frequently find themselves victims of “brain-drain” – prosperous companies leave, and promising young scientists and engineers follow.
We seem to be turning our children away from science just when we need it most. As reported on one of Discover Magazine's blogs on October 2008, “If you ask 1000 young girls ages 13-18 what profession they want to be, how many do you think would want to be scientists? According to a poll done in the UK and reported by The Guardian, the answer is 14%.”
That's an incredible number. Unfortunately, many students, girls especially, end up being taught that science is “hard”, it's unreliable, and that it's not that important anyway. That is an extremely dangerous attitude.
We've risen to the challenge before. In the 40's and 50's, the U.S. realized it faced a threat to our status - the Soviets were on the verge of outpacing us in the scientific realm. This fostered a great push to educate many more scientists and engineers. And while its purpose was to not be outdone by the Soviets, the unintended consequence of this push was that it lead to greater wealth all around and an improvement in our quality of life, from everyday household items to life-saving drugs.
In the past few decades, the power and prestige of science has waned, and it's only a matter of time before that starts to catch up with us. The United States is no longer training as many scientists and engineers as we should be – and in many ways, this is a direct reflection of how our society has turned against scientists as “elitists” and “out of touch academics”. Science is humanity's greatest tool for discovery, and every parent should encourage their child's interest in science.
“A better education in science for your child…
can also mean better things for the country by helping students develop into more responsible citizens who help to build a strong economy, contribute to a healthier environment, and bring about a brighter future for everyone.”