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Science teachers and outside experts tonight urged San Diego Unified’s board to resist any temptation to slash science programs as budgets drop, pushing to keep training and staffing in the sciences intact.

An advisory group, convened by school board member Richard Barrera, argued that the school district must keep putting science first, especially in struggling school. They worried that it was at risk last year.

Bruce Reznik, executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, described the problems that brought the group together: Reorganizing the school district forced the science department to close, giving schools little support from the central office when planning science classes. To save money, the school district tried to return kits meant to help teachers do interactive lessons in science. And struggling schools say they were told to spend less time on science to make time for reading and math.

The group offered recommendations in a report to the district, outlining several steps the board should take to save science:

  • Keep training teachers in science.
  • Keep the budget for maintaining the science supply kits intact.
  • And be clear that science is important in schools with low test scores, not just those that are flourishing.

“This is just a beginning and not an end,” Reznik said. “We hope this isn’t a report that just sits on a shelf.”

— EMILY ALPERT

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