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LETTER: If 'ex physics teacher' Brizard loves STEM so much, where was he during the recent CPS Science Fair?

[Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times on June 19, 2012 and has not as of this date (June 20, 2012) been published there. It is reprinted here with the permission of the writer, now a retired CPS teacher.]

TO THE EDITORS OF THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES

June 19, 2012. Letters to the Editor:

Thank you for your thorough editorial on the broad issues concerning the contract settlement and what is lacking in the Chicago Public Schools. One thing that you failed to point out is the miserable state of science instruction in the schools. Will it have a place in the longer school day?

While the current CEO is a former Physics Teacher and the system claims to have begun a massive STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program, including establishing STEM Academies, fewer schools and students participated in the Chicago Public Schools Student Science Fair than ever before. Of the more than 675 schools (less schools with grades lower than grade 6) only 321 schools participated in the science fair.

Not one high level administrator, Board of Education member, or city official appeared at the Opening Ceremony, Awards Assembly or Awarding of Scholarships of the 62nd Chicago Student Science Fair which was conducted by the Student Science Fair, Inc., a Not-for-Profit 501(c)(3) corporation which exists for the benefit of allowing students to do independent research and have it evaluated by educators, scientists, engineers, and researchers in a juried environment. A group of volunteers have been doing this for 62 years!

I invite the public and the media to visit the website of the science fair to see the kind of superb science curriculum offering that we have made to each and every CPS student (grants, mentoring, competition in local, state and international venues at no cost to the student, and scholarships). This resource comes to our students largely through corporate and university philanthropy and the hard and devoted work of current and retired educators and business people who are passionate about the next generation of American scientists. This work has been largely ignored by the current and immediate past administration.

Parents and those concerned about science education are urged to seek further information at CPSScienceFair.Org.

Melanie Wojtulewicz Member of the Board, Chicago Student Science Fair, Inc.

Chicago, MelWojo@AOL.com.



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