Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Science And Technology Tuesday: This Saddens Me

Due to budget cutbacks, NASA will be eliminating a popular science education program produced by NASA's Langley Research Center:
Randall Caton doesn't really understand it.

For six years, the Christopher Newport University physics professor has participated in a learning initiative at NASA Langley Research Center that provides engaging science lessons to children and adults nationwide.

Free videos, Web exercises and teleconferencing through the NASA Center for Distance Learning help students see how science and math are used in the real world. Teachers love them. Adults appreciate them. Businesses use them for training.

The educational videos, which a local company produces, have won several Emmy awards and are shown on public broadcasting stations.

But despite the center's acclaim, it will shoot its last video in June. The end of production means the elimination of five full-time positions, Caton said.

NASA headquarters in Washington told the staff in January that money wasn't available to continue the center, Caton said.

"We've had a lot of people disappointed that these are coming to an end because they have been very valuable for teachers," Caton said. "We feel it's a big loss, but it's a decision way above us."

Educators and administrators at local colleges say they've seen NASA headquarters and Langley Research Center funding shrink in the past few years for programs designed to prepare more scientists and engineers, something critics say the United States is failing to do adequately.

"We're not preparing our kids for the jobs of the future," said Bill Thomas, director of governmental relations for Hampton University.
*Sigh* this type of bad news seems to be a sign of the times. Check out Langley's website here.
Contributions for this week's edition of The Carnival Of Education are due tonight. Get submission info here; see our latest education-related entries over there.