Professor Eileen Parsons, Ph.D., has been named chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s newly created Committee on Equity in PreK-12 STEM Education.
The committee will develop a consensus study and write a report on equity in preK-12 STEM education, focusing on science education from early childhood through high school, making recommendations that are expected to inform and influence educational policy.
The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) anticipates that the committee’s report will serve as a touchstone document in the field of preK-12 STEM education as it identifies and describes inequities in science and mathematics education, examines how state-level standards and initiatives can address inequities, review evidence on policy and program interventions that address equity concerns, and develop recommendations for policy, practice, and research to promote success for all students in STEM learning.
As chair of the 12-member committee, Parsons will oversee the panel’s work, direct report writing processes, and serve as the primary spokesperson for the report when it is presented at professional meetings, to organizations, and to national-level policy makers.
Parsons has been active in NAS work in the past, including service as a member of an expert committee that was convened at the request of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Amgen Foundation to examine middle and high school science instruction and provide evidence-based guidance on how to improve it.
Parsons is a member of the presidential leadership team of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the premier international and national organization in science education research. NARST works to promote research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by that research, with the goal of helping all learners achieve science literacy.
Parsons has served as a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, spending a year working at the National Science Foundation, assisting the agency in addressing presidential and Congressional mandates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. She is also an American Council on Education Fellow.
The consensus study is under the direction of the Board on Science Education, a unit within the NAS. BOSE focuses specifically on issues in science education from early childhood through adulthood, including both in-school and out-of-school settings.
BOSE is a recognized national leader in science education, helping to set the policy and research agenda in K-12 schools, undergraduate education, and science learning in settings outside of school. A hallmark of the board’s work is to summarize research evidence in ways that make it relevant to educators and policy makers.
As chair of the committee, Parsons will play a leading role in planning and convening the study’s five regional field engagement sessions. She will also work with NAS personnel to conduct revision of the document after it undergoes peer review.