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Paper: NASA, Indigenous Astronomy, and K–12 Students During COVID-19
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 308
Authors: Lee, A.; Holbrook, J.; Maryboy, N. C.; Begay, D.; Aldana, G.; Follette, T. L.; Baybayan, K.
Abstract: For decades, U.S. trends in education have reflected deep disparities in opportunity and achievement along racial lines. Since the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling it has been clear that racial segregation of schools was deemed unconstitutional, but progress towards equity has been slow and unequal. Although achievement gaps have been narrowing, the Black/Brown to White achievement gap, is on average 24 points (de Brey et al. 2019). Research shows that racial achievement gaps are strongly correlated to socioeconomic disparities between Black, Hispanic, and White families. Gaps in income, poverty rates, unemployment rates, and educational attainment are all important factors in a child's educational path. Higher-income, better educated families can provide more educational opportunities, resources, and support for their offspring. Thus, state educational achievement gaps are strongly correlated with state racial socioeconomic disparities (Spector 2019). Now is the time to bring our ingenuity to bear on education models that bring more students of color into STEM. We must create experiences so compelling that they see themselves as an astronaut on their way to Mars, building a robotic tool that enhances our characterization of exoplanets, or making the discovery of life on another world. The key to the success of those experiences is acknowledging that culture and worldview play an essential role in learning STEM (Kawagley and Barnhardt 1998, Lee 2020; O'Donnell, Prather, and Behroozi 2020; Canning et al. 2019; Freeman et al. 2014; Hawkins and Vera 2021). Presented here are the preliminary results from a project entitled, Two-Eyed Seeing: NASA and Indigenous Astronomy for the Benefit of All. We bring together Western and indigenous science in the context of NASA themes to inspire students' curiosity and ignite their motivation. Our effort uniquely creates experiences for students of color by centering indigenous knowledge, people, place, and pedagogy so that they do not have to sacrifice their cultural identity in order to participate fully in STEM.
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