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Report: San Diego Students Falling Behind in Science


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Just how far behind are our country's students when it comes to science?  A department of education study shows students in urban public schools across the country need significant improvement. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has the story.

About half of San Diego's fourth and eighth-graders tested in the lowest scoring bracket in a national assessment test. This means they lack a basic understanding of earth, physical and life sciences.  But does this low performance point to a bigger problem nationwide?  Joan Evangelou is the San Diego chapter co-president of Arcs, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to graduate students in the sciences.  She says there's a critical need for U.S. scientists, engineers, and doctors.  The solution, she says, starts with proper education.  But federal funding for science education is on the decline.  Evangelou says a dwindling workforce of scientists presents an important problem for us locally.

Joan Evangelou: San Diego is a very interesting city because we have so much biotech and biocom industries that actually are here, and so it's very important that we have a workforce that can go out and compete and work with these companies.  They're looking for these people."

Evangelou says the need for U.S. scientists is becoming more pressing. According to Arcs, 50-percent of the current workforce will retire within two decades, leaving an unfilled void.  Arcs will hold its annual scholarship luncheon tomorrow.  The San Diego chapter has raised nearly $5 million for graduate student scholarships over the past 20 years.

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