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The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has joined other federal and state groups in calling for strengthened Earth systems science education in America’s schools.
“While many state curricula include Earth science topics, many lack Earth science as important subject matter,” reads NGWA’s statement on “The Importance of Earth Systems Science Education” adopted by its Board of Directors.
The NGWA Board of Directors sees a strengthening of Earth systems education as critical to improving public understanding of the importance of ground water as a source of drinking water for nearly 50% of the nation’s population, as well as other important economic activities that sustain employment and our society, said Kevin McCray, executive director of NGWA.
“Further, the board hopes that drawing attention to the Earth sciences will further entice young people to pursue academic studies and careers that will meet the ground water professions’ needs for highly capable employees,” McCray said.
Key to the national movement to bolster Earth science education is the National Science Education Standards. Published by the National Research Council in 1996, the standards were the result of four years of work by 22 scientific and science education societies and more than 18,000 individual contributors.
“Through Earth systems science education, students learn to understand Earth’s complexity…(and) appreciate the significance of wise utilization of the Earth’s resources,” the NGWA statement reads. “Earth science education promises to play an ever-expanding role in meeting society’s needs. Essentially, Earth systems science education constitutes a core element of students’ curriculum.”
In approving its statement, NGWA joins other geoscience organizations, a state-based national alliance and federal government agencies in “recognizing that a science-literate citizenry is vital to the nation’s well-being and security.” Among the federal agencies similarly involved in promoting Earth systems science education are the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.