Why is the US falling behind in science? Why are fewer people earning science and engineering degrees here than in, say, China and Japan? Cass Sunstein at Bloomberg thinks the answer lies in a new study that found that while 19.8% of kids entering college are interested in majoring in science—more than any other discipline—only 7.4% actually do. The study shows that many of these would-be scientists had unrealistically high expectations of their own performance, and bolted when their grades disappointed.
To Sunstein, that indicates that our high schools aren't doing a good enough job preparing would-be scientists to succeed in college. We need to fix that, primarily through reform at the state and local level. "The US can't tolerate a situation in which its students enter college with real enthusiasm for science, only to discover they aren't up to it. The nation's economy relies on a steady infusion of scientific talent." Click for Sunstein's full piece. (Read more science stories.)