A fascinating article in The American Scientist, with clear implications for museum anthropology:

School is not where most Americans learn most of their science

The scientific research and education communities have long had a goal of advancing the public’s understanding of science. The vast majority of the rhetoric and research on this issue revolves around the failure of school-aged children in the United States to excel at mathematics and science when compared with children in other countries. Most policy solutions for this problem involve improving classroom practices and escalating the investment in schooling, particularly during the precollege years. The assumption has been that children do most of their learning in school and that the best route to long-term public understanding of science is successful formal schooling. The “school-first” paradigm is so pervasive that few scientists, educators or policy makers question it. This despite two important facts: Average Americans spend less than 5 percent of their life in classrooms, and an ever-growing body of evidence demonstrates that most science is learned outside of school.

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