The Academies Act in the UK has passed through Parliament and is now law, says Imran Khan at the New Scientist's The S Word blog. Its purpose is to expand the number of schools that could become semi-independent, says Khan, but the law also removes the obligation of these school (called academies, and seemingly run like charter schools in the US) to teach science and math in line with the National Curriculum. "We'll have more freedom given to schools in how they teach science and maths," Khan says. "Many schools will use this freedom well. But a minority may fail their students by simply not teaching them these core skills properly." This would not only deprive students of what Khan calls "the enjoyment of science," but could also hurt their later job prospects. If a school is poorly-funded and can't attract the best teachers, math and science may be the first to suffer in the curriculum, Khan says. "These schools will run the risk of leaving their students underprepared for the outside world because they don't have the right skills, and depriving them of the understanding of the world which science and engineering give us," he adds.
Is the Law Putting Science at Risk?
Jul 29, 2010