I appreciate the opportunity to offer some advice. We currently have no shortage of scientific expertise to deal with the manifold issues facing this nation and the world. What’s missing is that science (and engineering) is no longer a fundamental priority of the national agenda—the way it was when Sputnik galvanized us into action in the aftermath of World War II.
You have dozens of capable and distinguished advisors to call upon who owe their training and their love of science to the excitement of the Sputnik years. What worries me is that we are not instilling the same spirit among the generations now in school.
Should I be accepted for the position, I will move immediately to initiate a national program (with public/private partnership) of sabbaticals for all science educators, from kindergarten through grade 12. This will attract better teachers to the field, encourage existing science educators to widen their horizons, and allow them to remain current with what’s going on in the real world. The entire nation will reap long-term benefits through better-educated and more-inspired students, and short-term benefits from the kinds of projects that individual teachers will undertake in their sabbatical years.
Thank you for inviting my comments, and I wish your new emphasis on science all possible success.
George B. Dyson
Author of Darwin Among the Machines and Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship.