Scientists In The Classroom

Overview

In response to Soviet advances in science and engineering education, the country’s top scientists with the support of the federal government in 1956 launched an unprecedented program to reform pre-college science education in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of archival material, John Rudolph traces the origins of two of the leading projects in this movement in high school physics and biology. Rudolph describes how the scientists directing these projects drew on their wartime experiences in weapons ...

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Overview

In response to Soviet advances in science and engineering education, the country’s top scientists with the support of the federal government in 1956 launched an unprecedented program to reform pre-college science education in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of archival material, John Rudolph traces the origins of two of the leading projects in this movement in high school physics and biology. Rudolph describes how the scientists directing these projects drew on their wartime experiences in weapons development and defense consultation to guide their foray into the field of education and he reveals how the broader social and political conditions of the 1950s Cold War America fundamentally shaped the nature of the course materials they eventually produced.

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
John L. Rudolph's compact, well-researched volume brings to light the intriguing history....
— Jessica Wang
American Historical Review - Jessica Wang
John L. Rudolph's compact, well-researched volume brings to light the intriguing history....
From the Publisher
Honorable Mention for the AERA New Scholars Book Award for History of Education

"For those interested in the relations between technology and culture, there is much to appreciate in this book."—Amy C. Crumpton, Technology and Culture

"John L. Rudolph's compact, well-researched volume brings to light the intriguing history. . . ."—Jessica Wang, American Historical Review

"An engaging and refreshingly balanced account of the science-curriculum wars of the 1950s and early 1960s, when Russian rivalry, governmental largess, and scientific hubris led to the unprecedented politicization of science teaching in American schools." —Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale and William Coleman Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of The Creationists

". . . a masterful achievement." —William J. Reese, University of Wisconsin-Madison

". . . absorbing . . . I wish everyone engaged in science curriculum development and those who study the history of curriculum and the history of science would read this book. It provides fresh insights into a complex phenomenon." —Angelo Collins, Executive Director, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

"In this masterly study he provides a much richer context for understanding the role of science in 20th century American culture. Highly recommended." — Library Jourbanal

American Historical Review
John L. Rudolph''s compact, well-researched volume brings to light the intriguing history....

— Jessica Wang

Library Journal
In this masterly study of federally sponsored efforts to reform K-12 science education in the early postwar era, Rudolph (education, Univ. of Wisconsin) sheds light not only on familiar political debates over the role of the federal government in sponsoring educational reform but on the history of science, the place of science in American culture and society in the 20th century, and the relationship between philosophical debates over the aims of education and curriculum development and reform. "All representations of science in schools embody social and political ends," writes Rudolph, and his study of the impact of these forces on science education reform during the 1950s and 1960s will provide valuable insights for science educators, who continue to face these issues today. Although Rudolph builds on earlier studies of federally funded curriculum programs namely, Barbara Barksdale Clowse's Brainpower for the Cold War and Peter B. Dow's Schoolhouse Politics he provides a much richer context for understanding the role of science (and science education) in 20th-century American culture. Highly recommended. Scott Walter, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was widespread regard for the role public schooling should play in the promotion of science and rational thinking. The author argues that this situation represented the triumph of the nation's scientific elite in generating a public- policy consensus regarding the role of American education. In recounting the history of science education reform efforts, he hopes to show how scientists and their allies in the federal government sought to use education as a tool to manage the relationship between science and the layperson. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312295714
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

John L. Rudolph is Assistant Professor in the school of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
• Ideology and Education
• The State of Science in America
• NSF, Education, and National Security
• Wartime Techniques for Cold War Education
• PSSC: Engineering Rationality
• BSCS: Science and Social Progress
• Science/Education Transformed
• Politics and the Scientific Image

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