In the early stages of the current reform movement, Paul De Hart Hurd wrote a Council for Basic Education monograph titled "Reforming Science Education: The Search for a New Vision" (1984). After noting the great national concern over the state of science education, he prepared the following chart to illustrate needed changes:
The Prevailing Framework The Emerging Vision
1. The rationale and goals The rationale and goals
are derived from the are derived by considering
knowledge structure of science and technology in
the disciplines. social, cultural, and
2. The content of science is The content of science is
chosen from information chosen from science and
that characterizes the technology in terms of its
best theories, concepts, importance to understand
and methodologies of the role of science and
selected science technology for improving
disciplines. the quality of life.
3. The cognitive processes The cognitive processes
considered to be most involved in teaching and
important are analytical, learning technology
quantitative, deductive, and science are holistic,
theoretical, and value-free. ecological, qualitative,
Teaching is linear. inductive, complex, and
value-laden. Teaching leads
students to develop skills
for information processing
and use of knowledge.
4. Value and ethical Questions of values and
considerations reflect ethics have their origin in
the conduct of scientific society and personal
researchers, intellectual experience, as well as in the
honesty, respect for the achievement of science and
accuracy, pertinence, technology.
validity, and adequacy of
5. Textbooks serve as a source Textbooks serve as one
of both the achievements of source of information on
science and the information current science/technology
desirable for careers in problems that are rooted
science and technical fields. in social, cultural, and
6. Science is taught in a Science and technology
way that will develop are taught in a way that
understanding of the will enhance understanding
processes used to discover of the natural world and
and interpret the properties understand the
of the natural world. Each interrelations among natural,
field of science represented technological, and social
in the curriculum is taught systems, including links
in a way that will with the humanities and
preserve its integrity behavioral sciences.
as a discrete discipline.
Almost a decade later, the writers for Project 2061 picked up on some of the same themes. In the Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS, 1993), it is very clear that the vision described by Hurd has been clarified, extended, and amplified. The emphasis is clearly on developing a more holistic view of science that relates science to human experience. The nature of science is presented in its historical, social, cultural, and economic context. While knowledge and skills are the tools from which understanding is forged, they do not limit the curriculum.