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Re: The End of Hands-On Science Activities in California's K-8 Classrooms?

The indicated posting line limitations have once again mercifully
shielded subscribers to STLHE-L (150 lines), Chemed-L (150 lines),
Phys-L (300 lines), EvalTalk (500 lines), and even Physhare (699
lines) from one of my typical posts - this time a mere 900 lines

Hake, R.R. 2004, "Re: The End of Hands-On Science Activities in
California's K-8 Classrooms?", online at
<>. Post
of 5 Feb 2004 19:57:39-0800 to AERA-K, AP-Physics, Biopi-L,
FYA-List, Math-Learn, Math-Teach, PhysLrnR; and abridged version was
later sent to lists with line limitations: Chemed-L, EvalTalk,
Physhare, Phys-L, & STLHE-L.

If your interest is:

(a) zero or less then please hit DELETE - but beware STLHE-L'ers,
this could happen even in Canada; and beware EvalTalk'ers, the CA
direct instructionists rely on biased "evaluations" - not scientific
research - to justify their programs.

(b) only slightly greater than zero, then please scan the abridged
version in the APPENDIX,

(c) somewhat greater than zero, then please access the entire post by
clicking on the above URL


Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
24245 Hatteras Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

APPENDIX [Abridged Version of Hake (2004)]

Valerie Strauss' "Back to Basics vs. Hands-On Instruction: California
Rethinks Science Labs" [Strauss (2004)], stimulated by Woolf & Hake
(2004), is a cogent, well researched, nicely written, and insightful
report on the looming "Criteria" fiasco. I would urge all list
subscribers to access Valerie's ENTIRE article (complete with a photo
of kids being CONSTRUCTIVELY GUIDED TOWARDS (NOT left adrift to
"DISCOVER," as direct instuctionists imagine) techniques for growing
crystals in a fourth-grade science class in San Diego), by clicking
on the URL

After a decade of control by Back To Basics Enthusiasts, K-12
education in California is widely acknowledged to be a basket case
[Pak (2002), Merrow (2004)], despite the glowing appraisal by
California's Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell [CDE
2003]. It can only be hoped that the announced intentions of Governor
Schwarznegger and Secretary of Education Riordan [see Helfand
LOCAL TEACHERS, principals, and parents - in direct opposition to
that of Metzenberg's California Curriculum Commission (CCC) - is not
the usual empty rhetoric of California politicians.

As most of you may know from previous posts [Hake (2003, 2004a-h);
Woolf & Hake (2004); Woolf (2004a,b)], the ominous "Criteria" were
passed by the CCC on 16 January 2004. The CCC appears to live in a
"private universe," blithely oblivious of the literature of cognitive
science [see, e.g. Bransford (2000)] and three decades of
science-education research on how people learn [see, e.g. Karplus
(1974, 1977, 1981); Shymansky et. al. (1983, 1990); Halloun &
Hestenes (1985a,b); McDermott & Redish (1999); Hake (1998a,b; 2002);
Lopez & Schultz.(2001); FOSS (2001); Pelligrino et al. (2001); Fuller

I think it is important for concerned scientists, science educators,
parents, and the science organizations over which Metzenberg and the
CCC are riding roughshod to communicate [BEFORE the 10-11 March
meeting of the State Board] their objections to the "Criteria For
Evaluating K-8 Science Instructional Materials In Preparation for the
2006 Adoption" [online at <> - see
especially the direct instructionist's anti-hands-on lines 102-115,
156-157, and 299-300]. It might help to bring Strauss'(2004)
eye-opening report to their attention. Among those who might
profitably be contacted are:

(1) Most importantly, BOARD MEMBERS THEMSELVES [6 of them newly
appointed - see Helfand (2004a)]; members bios are at
<>. Unfortunately, email
addresses (except for Reed Hastings) are NOT given and recently
appointed members are NOT listed, consistent with the archaic and
undemocratic nature of the Board as discussed by Schultz (1998).
Phone: 916-319-0827.
FAX: 916-319-0175.
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
According to the Board's Kathy Akana, there's no need to write to
individual Board members, since ALL letters sent to the above address
will be forwarded to ALL members of the Board with one-day service
every Thursday. Political activists tell me that letters are the most
effective way of communicating with bureaucrats, and that emails,
FAX's, and telephone calls are often ignored.

State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633
Email: <>
Website: <>
"To help us keep track of correspondence and to ensure that we are
able to respond to California residents, please be sure to include
your name and address when you communicate with the Governor's
Office. We do not accept e-mail attachments.

Riordan's current push towards LOCAL control by teachers, principals,
and parents - diametrically opposite that of Metzenberg, the CCC, and
the disastrous "Criteria."
Governor's Office
Office of the Secretary for Education
1121 L Street, Suite 600
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: (916) 323-0611
Fax: (916) 323-3753
Website: <>
Biography: <>.