Science Education, a Public Good for the Good of the Public? Research to Empower, Evoke, and Revolutionize
The conference theme is a fitting call for this era of drastic change (e.g., population shifts, prominence of technology, disappearing economies) and daunting challenges (e.g., increased frequency of life-impacting natural and human-inspired disasters). It is a charge to conduct science education research for a socially just world.
Substantial progress towards a socially just world in which science education is a public good for the good of the public—a public inclusive of all desiring to partake—is elusive. A call for research to empower, evoke, and revolutionize may be heretical to those who believe western science, one foundation of science education, is a universal, objective body of knowledge immune to the frailties of humans who construct it and the sociopolitical contexts in which it is constructed. It may be unsettling for others who see science education strictly through an individual rather than group and complex systems lens and it may be disconcerting to those who adhere to presentism, an ahistorical view that exclusively attributes current conditions to the here and now.
Receptive or not, the drastic changes and daunting challenges at this time demand all hands on deck and warrant an equity- and equality-oriented criticality—an intentional, exacting examination to deconstruct and disrupt the status quo privileging a few in pursuit of a socially just world for the many.
The time for research to empower (envision beyond the existing boundaries), evoke (think and act boldly in times of ease and turmoil), and revolutionize (abandon the idea good intentions are enough and institute change to achieve equitable and equal outcomes) is now. It is this kind of research the 2021 conference aims to inspire.