The Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science (NATS) is committed to the equity vision of A Framework for K-12 Science Education. As the leaders of science education in the State of Nebraska, NATS recognizes we have a responsibility to encourage equity for ALL students.
Encouraging equity must include the recognition that Nebraska is a state rich in diversity. Our communities vary greatly in size, industry focus, and opportunities. Our families have many diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic standings. NATS seeks to support practices that embrace and leverage our students' cultures and identities as the drivers in their science education.
It is the position of NATS that ALL students deserve equitable access and opportunity to deeply learn science and engineering knowledge and practices. An equitable education system ensures that all students are known, heard and supported while having access and opportunities to the resources they need to learn, live and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
As an organization, we also recognize that all students, regardless of their background, are capable of learning if provided with a supportive environment and curriculum which connects to them personally. The rich diversity within our state affords schools with ways to find unique and meaningful opportunities to engage students in science and engineering practices that are relevant to the individual learner and community. Each student brings with them a unique background and understanding of scientific ideas which become the foundation for building an enduring understanding of phenomena as they explore their world. Science educators must capture and utilize these nascent ideas to foster individual ownership of science learning and develop scientific literacy.
Equitable and quality education is a necessity in the 21st century. Being scientifically literate prepares our students to face societal challenges, collectively solve problems and improve humanity. Through our policies and actions, NATS will work to increase access to high-quality science education opportunities for students from ALL backgrounds and ALL areas of the state.
"NATS hurts for all citizens impacted by recent injustices. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and will not tolerate racial inequalities or hate in any manner. All educators, including science educators, must ensure they teach their content with empathy, cultural responsiveness, and encouragement to use science to dismantle inequities in our communities. NATS also believes that equitable access to education can transform communities within our nation."
To support our educators trying to grasp how to navigate this moment of trauma and hurt with their students during these times, we are providing some resources from NSTA and others to help bring equity and social justice into our science classrooms. In the upcoming month, NATS will also provide a workshop for educators to increase our efforts in supporting inclusive and culturally responsive classrooms by providing tools for science teachers to navigate topics of marginalization and social justice in their science content."
Social Justice in Science Education Links:
Teaching Tolerance Education Links:
The National Museum of African American History & Culture provides guides for talking about for educators, families, and others: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race
The 1619 Project provides reading guides, activities, and other resources for reframing U.S. history from the date when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil: https://pulitzercenter.org/lesson-plan-grouping/1619-project-curriculum
PBS Newshour provides lessons for 6th-12th graders around the murder of George Floyd and ensuing protests: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/daily-videos/the-death-of-george-floyd-sets-off-massive-protests/
Teaching Tolerance provides a package on teaching about race, racism, and police violence: https://www.tolerance.org/moment/racism-and-police-violence
Facing History and Ourselves provides resources for educators on the history of racism in our country along with this specific teaching idea to reflect on George Floyd’s death: https://www.facinghistory.org/educator-resources/current-events/reflecting-george-floyds-death-police-violence-towards-black-americans