Bay watch

The Bay Area's science and technology sectors are booming. But in the public schools, it's a different story. Some 80 percent of 923 area elementary-school teachers surveyed said they spend less than one hour per week teaching science, and 16 percent said they spend no time on science at all. The results show it: less than half of Bay Area students scored at or above grade level on last spring's California Standards Test in science. Seems we were onto something when we suggested teaching a broad liberal arts curriculum (including science) in schools. We assumed, though, that because of a growing emphasis on STEM learning, fear of China and India, and Thomas Friedman, subjects such as history and the arts would get short shrift. In San Francisco, however, it seems that science instruction is being cut, too. The locals had better wise up. How do you say Google in Hindi? In Mandarin?

"Science courses nearly extinct in elementary grades, study finds," by Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, October 25, 2007