The Board of Directors of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) approved on 7 September a slate of four AGU position statements on the topics of K–12 education, U.S. government support for basic research, free and open communication of scientific findings, and the centrality of the theories of evolution and the history of the Earth to science education.
The organization had updated one of these newly approved statements, entitled “Earth and Space Sciences Should Be Taught in K–12 Education,” from its previous version to reflect more current educational standards. The original statement adopted in 2001 referenced the 1995 National Science Education Standards and the 1994 American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks for Science Literacy. The revised and newly approved version references the 2013 Next Generation Science Standards and the 2012 National Research Council document “A Framework for K–12 Science Education.”
The other three position statements had come due for review this fall at the ends of their 4-year terms. The AGU Position Statement Task Force recommended renewing the statements as written, an action approved by the AGU Board at its September meeting.
Of those statements, one, entitled “The U.S. Government Has a Critical Role in Supporting Basic Research in the Earth and Space Sciences,” focuses on the critical importance of federally funded research to provide societal benefits.
A second statement, called “AGU Supports Free and Open Communication of Scientific Findings,” promotes unfettered communication of scientific findings, as well as the research process.
The third statement, with the title “The Scientific Theories of Biological Evolution and History of the Earth Should Be Central Elements of Science Education,” notes that the scientific theory of evolution is noncontroversial within the scientific community and is fundamental to science education.
AGU develops and maintains position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to the understanding and application of the Earth and space sciences. AGU encourages its members to use position statements to convey the sense of the scientific community to policy makers, students, or other members of the public.
All AGU position statements reside online on the AGU Position Statements and Letters website, along with AGU’s advocacy policy and information about the adoption and renewal history of each statement.
—Elizabeth Landau, Public Affairs Manager, AGU; email: [email protected]