BRINGING NEW RIGOR TO SCIENCE EDUCATION
To make K–12 education in U.S. schools more scientific, researchers are conducting experiments using emerging technologies and embracing new data analysis methods. The effort started with former president George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and has continued under President Barack Obama. The research challenges widely held beliefs, including that teachers should be judged primarily on the basis of their academic credentials, classroom size is paramount, and students need detailed instructions to learn. In general, however, schools are not taking advantage of the new findings.
Education: The Science of Learning
Currently, programs that get funded in K–12 education do not support students who already excel at and love science. These students have great potential, but without public investment, they will not be prepared for the rigors of a scientific career. This is particularly true for those without highly educated and resource-rich parents. Experts suggest that the U.S. set aside part of our nation’s science education funding to help foster the talents of these young people.
Forum: The Talent Gap
CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS PUBLIC HEALTH
Rising Arctic temperatures are helping pathogens spread and thrive where they had not been before. As a result, parasites in the far north are infecting musk oxen, and ticks are transmitting viruses to people. The changing climate raises the need for nations to find ways to improve biosecurity.
Health: Sickness in the Arctic
WILL ROBOTS TAKE OUR JOBS?
Between 2001 and 2011, 11 percent of routine jobs in the U.S. disappeared. Some contend this was due to the growing number of machines undertaking American jobs traditionally performed by people. Many more of these jobs, such as tax preparer, cashier, locomotive engineer and taxi driver, may be at high risk of being automated in the years ahead. We need improved metrics and data collection systems to better understand how shifts in our economy and labor markets are affected by technological advances and automation.
Science Agenda: Will Work for Machines
HOW TO FIX THE NSA
The National Security Agency and other government organizations increased the collection of personal and classified data about individuals without adequate policies and processes for keeping the information safe. Four basic principles need to be considered to ensure data security:
• Spread big data resources across distant databases, using different types of computer systems and encryption schemes
• Build encryption safeguards for the transmission and storage of data
• Assess existing policies and traditions for data collection and storage
• And finally, conduct transparent experimentation with big data procedures to ensure our safeguards work.
Cybersecurity: Saving Big Data from Itself
A CASE FOR INHERITANCE
Pollutants, stress, diet and other environmental factors can cause persistent changes in our genes, which are known to affect our health and well-being. New studies report that these genetic changes can actually be passed down through generations. What we are exposed to today can adversely affect aspects of the health of our grandchildren, such as by increasing obesity or diabetes.
Biology: A New Kind of Inheritance
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