New York University Professor Okhee Lee and University of Miami Professor Scott Grapin recently wrote that “science and engineering education remain silent about disparities that underlie pressing societal challenges.” These two leading lights, who are engaged in training the next generation of K-12 teachers, recommend that science educators adopt a justice-centered approach to lesson plans that emphasizes “explaining and solving pressing societal challenges that directly impact students’ lives, communities, and society.”
“Societal changes?” Like the erasing of women by the trans thugocracy, for example? Or the rapid collapse of Christianity in the U.S.? Or perhaps the now nearly absolute, utter intolerance of those in higher education for views, notions, and interpretations that differ from their own? What could/should a justice-centered approach to science lesson plans do about these pressing societal challenges? Lee and Grapin? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?
So the nutty professors purport to believe that the goal of every course, study, discipline, and endeavor should be to foment activism and societal change, not to teach, learn, create, or excel?
What if Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Alva Edison, and Dr. Jonas Salk, et. al., had only—or primarily-- been concerned with social justice? They would never have had the time to focus on questioning, researching, hypothesizing, testing, analyzing, and communicating (the six steps comprising the “scientific method”) the results of the scientific experiments that they might also not have had time to conduct. Nor would they have had time to create and invent.
Yet, upon deeper reflection, they were, in fact, addressing pressing “societal challenges.” Societal challenges such as identifying and explaining gravity, and inventing things such as the light bulb, the polio vaccine, etc., etc. All of which greatly enhanced the lives of virtually everyone on the planet.
There can be no better definition—or example—of “social justice” than this.
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