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Parents Need to Pitch In

A Young Student Works in a Workbook at Home

When it comes to helping kids learn science, parents and educators agree that Mom and Dad are falling down on the job, according to a new survey of 500 science teachers and 506 parents. A whopping 98 percent of the teachers surveyed said that parental involvement is important to keeping students interested in science. And, 94 percent said they wish their students’ parents had more chances to engage in science with their children. Seventy-seven percent suspected that too many parents just don’t feel comfortable with science topics to be of much assistance.

The parents’ responses bear that out. Fifty-three percent of the parents surveyed said they could use more help in supporting their children’s interest in science. Only 51 percent of parents said that they were “very familiar” with the science their kids were learning. In comparison, 71 percent said that they were “very familiar” with the language arts their kids were learning and 69 percent felt that comfortable with their kids’s math lessons. Parents and teachers also largely agreed it would help matters if there were more places in communities where kids and their parents could engage in science together.

Science education is a top national priority, “but science teachers can’t do the job on their own,” said Francis Eberle, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, which commissioned the study, along with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and the Triangle Coalition, an advocacy group for STEM education. “We must continue to find ways to break down the walls of the classroom and encourage learning together among families.”

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