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Before reading the required materials for this week’s discussion posts I would have never guessed that I would be able to connect the Russian launching of Sputnik in 1957 to the legislation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Once I gained a better understanding of the lasting effects the Russian space program had on the American culture it became clear how fear prompted the United States to make changes (Bowles & Kaplan, 2012). Bowles and Kaplan explain how “U.S. educators and governmental officials soon called for additional curriculum reform and provided reform efforts substantial financial support from the government. The focus of science education now shifted from revealing everyday applications of science to teaching fundamental scientific concepts… scientific literacy merged with the theme of STS (Science, Technology, and Society), which emphasizes scientific and technological accountability and the interrelationships of science and culture” (2012, sec. 10.1). The ripple effects of Sputnik then continued into the twenty-first century with the NCLB Act and the unending desire of the U.S. to be considered as competition to other nations who were advanced in the sciences (Bowles & Kaplan, 2012). With a newfound emphasis in educating the American public the Sputnik forced the hand of the U.S. government to take an active role in the space race.
Bowles, M. & Kaplan, B. (2012). Science and culture throughout history. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.