Winning the science fair at school was a formative experience for Ta-Nehisi Coates and it formed one of the few open spaces available at school. Writing for the The Atlantic, he discusses the decline of the high school science fair and how this could mean that many children are not exposed to the joy of making at a young age.
When I was in school, the basic rule was that if your grades and conduct aren’t up to snuff, you didn’t get picked for extracurricular activities. Given my constant race to the bottom, this pretty much disqualified me from a lot of what interested me about school. I’ll always believe that I could have won the dramatic reading contest. But I spent too much time talking in class.
Schools do more than prepare kids for society — they also send powerful messages to kids about whether they’ll succeed in society
One of the few exceptions came in fourth grade when I won the science fair at my school, and went to the city-wide competition. It was the pride of my nine year old life. So it’s with much dismay that I read this:
Comprehensive national numbers are hard to come by, but Ms. Glidden said that several major regional fairs have been unable to scrape together the number of high schools required to participate in the Intel fair in recent years. “At the high school level, it’s on the decline,” she said.
In Indiana, high school participation in the state’s science fairs dropped 15 percent in the last three years. One fair organizer in Washington described last year’s fair there as “heartbreaking,” with few projects and not enough judges. The fair in St. Louis was in danger of folding this year when its major sponsor, Pfizer, moved its operations and dropped its sponsorship. One obvious reason for flagging interest in science fairs is competing demands for high school students’ extracurricular attention…..to continue reading please go to The Atlantic