Is It Possible to Teach “Science for All” in a Climate of Accountability? Educational Policy and the Equitable Teaching of Science

  • Sherry A. Southerland
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 5)


This chapter includes an examination of current trends in science learning for nonmainstream learners to explore just how far off the mark of progress American schools are. This is followed by a synthesis of the research that investigates the influence national education policy has had on science teaching and the learning of nonmainstream students. I employ Larry Cuban’s (Phi Delta Kappan 69(5):341–344, 1988) idea of first-order and second-order changes to explain the negative turn this somewhat promising legislation has influenced. I argue that current accountability policies simply call for changes in schooling without guidelines for the reform of science teaching and learning. The chapter closes with the argument that educational policy efforts that are devoid of professional development for equitable teaching practices and goals for science learning, that leave the assessment of learning to responsibilities of underfunded states, and that use high-stakes approaches within short time frames are not capable of instigating second-order changes, changes that are required if we are to move toward teaching “science for all.”


Differential Item Functioning African American Student English Language Learner Hispanic Student Science Education Reform 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FSU-Teach, College of EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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