AGU updates position statements on science education

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The AGU Council and Board approved updates to two AGU position statements about the importance of Earth and space science (ESS) education.

These updated statements address the critical role of ESS in tackling the challenges facing society, the need to ensure universal, equitable access to ESS education and the meaningful engagement of individuals impacted by ESS issues. The statements also recognize the importance of countering politicization and other barriers to teaching high-quality, scientifically accurate information.

Specifically, one of the statements articulates “The importance of exploring Earth and space sciences (ESS) throughout the educational experience.” The statement lays out AGU’s support for a global effort to increase ESS literacy throughout the educational experience through the accelerated inclusion of accurate, comprehensive and rigorous ESS into all parts of formal and informal education.

The second statement conveys that “Teaching climate change is essential to understanding our past and shaping our future.” It communicates AGU’s support of high-quality, scientifically accurate, inclusive teaching of climate change and evolution as central elements of education for all.

Each position statement acknowledges the challenges involved and makes specific recommendations towards achieving the articulated vision.

AGU position statements—created, revised and approved by members—provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues, ranging from climate change to education to national security. These statements are not only cited by AGU, but referenced by journalists, policymakers and other Earth and space science organizations.

AGU’s Position Statement Committee reviews existing statements as part of a recurring four-year process to decide which should be reaffirmed, retired or revised. In 2021, the committee appointed a diverse panel of experts—cutting across geography, disciplines, career stage, and other perspectives—to update the two education statements to reflect changes in science, technology and society since the statements were last revised in September 2016. The task force relied on member comments to finalize the draft statements, which were ultimately approved by AGU’s Council and Board.

Members can propose new position statements via this form.

Education Position Statements Writing Panel Members 2021:

  • Stephanie Pfirman (Chair), Arizona State University
  • Joshua I. Villalobos (Vice-Chair), El Paso Community College
  • Tanya Furman, Penn State University
  • Missy Holzer, NESTA/Chatham High School in Chatham, New Jersey
  • Jacqueline Houghton, University of Leeds
  • Ashanti Johnson, Fort Valley State University (GA)
  • Allison Leidner, NASA
  • Rafael Loureiro, Winston Salem
  • Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
  • Victor Ricchezza, Perimeter College at Georgia State University
  • Vincent Tong, University College London
  • Michael Wysession, Washington University St Louis

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