Nicole Jimenez 0

Keep Science Labs in OCPS Elementary Schools

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To Members of the Orange County Board of Education:

We, the undersigned, current and future parents and caregivers of students in the Orange County School System, taxpayers and residents of Orange County, petition the Orange County Board of Education to continue the inclusion of science labs and technology labs in the elementary school curriculum.

Science labs and technology labs are currently included in the curriculum at OCPS elementary schools, but are being removed from the curriculum in the 2015-2016 school year.

In the position paper, “The Integral Role of Laboratory Investigations in Science Instruction,” the National Science Teachers Association states, “For science to be taught properly and effectively, labs must be an integral part of the science curriculum.”

OCPS has repeatedly emphasized the need for STEM programs in all levels of schooling.

Superintendent Barbara Jenkins states the importance of STEM programs in a recent editorial: “STEM-related careers are quite promising for Orange County Public Schools students. Predictions are that 75 percent of the future job market will be in STEM fields and that within the next three years, in Florida alone, there will be more than 400,000 STEM related jobs to fill. STEM majors will bring home $500,000 more in salary over a lifetime than non-STEM majors, according to one report. We want to see OCPS graduates fill many of those jobs and earn those salaries. In OCPS, we integrate STEM programs throughout our K-12 curriculum, inviting even our youngest students to engage in STEM projects.”

Discontinuing science labs and technology labs at the elementary school level is directly opposite of these goals, and therefore, we are asking that science and technology labs be continued at the elementary school level.

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