Do brain cells freeze in 15-year-olds?

Pop quiz. Of 30 wealthy nations, where do our 15-year-olds rank in average science scores?

a) 1st
b) 8th
c) 13th
d)17th

How about in math scores?
a) 1st
b)10th
c)16th
d) 24th

If you guessed “d” both times, you’re right. 

Assuming this pattern carries across to other age groups, and not just 15-year-olds, what do you think the federal government should do to prepare K-12 students for the science and technology driven 21st Century? Currently, most education issues are handled by state and local policy makers. The Feds take a hands-off approach. Clearly, this approach isn’t working.

So, what do you think the President and Congress should do to fix the current state of affairs? I’d like to hear your thoughts.  

I’d also like to hear how my Congressional candidates would reply to that and six other questions a team of science organizations just announced. And they’ve made it really easy for me, and you, to do so.

In the words of the ScienceDebate 2008 team (which now includes me as their director of public engagement):

The November election will be a critical moment for U.S. science. It’s important that voters know where their candidates stand on issues such as climate change; the environment; innovation, education, research and the economy; and soaring energy prices.

Candidates are much more likely to answer if you ask, too! It’s simple; just find your candidates using the zip code search and email them from their profile pages. Let them know that you think science and technology policy is central to our country’

s future. Link here to get started.

We’d like to flood their in boxes with hundreds of emails from concerned citizens. Politicians pay attention to their voters, and together we can show that there is a constituency for science. We can make science and technology a prominent part of the 2008 elections.