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We argue that before the public's mandate for scientific literacy for all Americans can be achieved, familiar views about the teaching and learning of science must often be challenged through processes requiring time, expertise, and support in professional programs purposely designed to develop exemplary science teachers.
The qualities and characteristics of scientifically literate high school graduates (NSTA, 1990) are provided in Appendix A.
Scientifically literate ways of thinking and acting, however, require the development of higher order cognitive skills.
Yet the models of science education that widely persist in schools across the grade levels (including the college science classroom) are inadequate for developing the knowledge needed to tackle those problems.
Those models largely fail to truly engage most students in the learning process; their consequences on student outcomes are disastrous.
This paper, therefore, seeks to challenge the prevailing attitudes toward teacher education.
With a focus on science education, we attempt to articulate the expert knowledge and skills needed to prepare exemplary science teachers.
Indeed, a great deal of anxiety can result in a classroom where personal ideas and values are questioned.
Thus, it is imperative that the science teacher educator establish a learning environment conducive to the safe expression and exploration of ideas and thoughts by the individual and the group.
The political, economic and logistical pressures this need places on large school systems come at a time when teacher education programs in the state are being forced to reduce the time spent in schools of education.
Consequently, the trend in cities such as New York is for administrators to look for expedient operations capable of producing large numbers of teachers quickly.