The National Education Standards present a vision of a scientifically literate populace. They outline what students need to know, understand, and be able to do to be scientifically literate at different grade levels. They describe an educational system in which all students demonstrate high levels of performance, in which teachers are empowered to make the decisions essential for effective learning, in which interlocking communities of teachers and students are focused on learning science, and in which supports educational programs and systems nurture achievement. The Standards point toward a future that is challenging but attainable.
Everyone needs to use scientific information to make day-to-day choices. Everyone needs to be able to engage intelligently in public discourse and debate about important issues that involve science and technology. And everyone deserves to share in the excitement and personal fulfillment that can come from understanding and learning about the natural world.
Scientific knowledge also is of increasing importance in the workplace. More and more jobs demand advanced skills, requiring that people be able to learn, reason, think creatively, make decisions, and solve problems. An understanding of science and the processes of science contributes in an essential way to these skills. Other countries are investing heavily to create scientifically and technically literate workforces. To keep pace in global markets, the United States needs to have an equally capable citizenry.