Framing: To what extent should values be taught in science education in resource dependent communities?
Focus: How are science and values taught at Alder Creek Community Forest (ACCF)?
For centuries, value-free science that is rational and objective has been an ideal of our society (Kincaid 2007). However, “because science is a human endeavor, ethics, value judgments, and contexts of the people practicing the science fundamentally pervade all aspects of the scientific enterprise” (Cooper 2012). In Douglas County, Oregon, the timber industry dominates the economy and plays an important part in the local culture. Concurrently, many of these forest lands have recently been designated as land for the Northern Spotted Owl, creating tension among the values of the community. At Alder Creek Community Forest, a local nonprofit, there is an environmental education program that local schools visit for field-based science inquires. As Lele and Norgaard (2005) argue, “prioritizing forests over other land uses, and certain forest management systems over others, means valuing certain benefits and certain beneficiaries over others…but science cannot settle the debate.” Students can learn the facts about the area, but in order to make important decisions about land use, they will need to make their own value judgements. This project aims to open a discussion about the role teachers should play in actively presenting or abstaining from teaching students values.
Cooper, Caren. “Links and Distinctions Among Citizenship, Science, and Citizen Science.” Democracy & Education, 20(2): 1-4.
Kincaid, Harold., Dupre, John, and Wylie, Alison. Value-Free Science Ideals and Illusions. Cary: Oxford University Press, USA, 2007.
LéLé, Sharachchandra, and Richard B. Norgaard. “Practicing Interdisciplinarity.” BioScience 55, no. 11 (2005): 967.