Beyond the “decorated landscapes” of educational reform: Toward landscapes of pluralism in science education



Perhaps, we are at the fork in the road when it is imperative that we consider whether the pursuit of pluralism in science education is a worthwhile endeavor in light of recent educational reforms that seem to decorate the true aim of education. The “decorated landscapes” of educational reform concentrate on economic growth and do little to promote the conservation of Earth's natural environments that sustain life itself. Here we renew a discussion of a 300-year pursuit in the United States toward educational landscapes that contribute to students' lives. We connect with scholars who have pursued the pluralistic landscapes of culture in an attempt to make education more authentic and democratic and with scholars who have pursued an education for the conservation of the Earth's natural environments. We argue that these two educational domains are and necessarily should be reflective, reliant, and reciprocal of each other if we wish to truly engage students in scientific literacy—the authentic, relevant, and meaningful science education experiences that contribute a person's existence. Finally, we offer recommendations which aim to focus on the many meaningful landscapes that contribute to pluralistic life in science education. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed91:321–338, 2007