NSTA’s 75th: A Beginning and Future Forged with a Need for Science Education

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 1944.  After many years of discussion, two separate associations—The American Science Teachers Association and the American Council of Science Teachers — proposed and adopted a constitution that merged their members and joined their forces to organize as one national group for science education. By the end of 1944, the seed that had been planted broke through the surface and emerged as the National Science Teachers Association. Its founding purpose to “stimulate, improve, and coordinate science teaching at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels of instruction.”

There is no doubt that since its inception, the importance of science teaching and science learning has been the driving focus of the association. The ongoing need for this driving force has been society as a whole and the need to provide students with instruction that helped to understand scientific and technological advances of the time. Robert Carleton penned the following at the 25th anniversary: “The challenge to NSTA and to the profession is to tie science education together with the lives of people and the problems of society in a truly functional manner.” As science educators we have the ability to make connections between new advances and everyday life, influence the future, and to extend the reach of science to many.

At our 50th anniversary, then President Gerry Madrazo likened our Association to a giant Sequoia which has grown slowly by planting deep roots, and reaching wide but had yet to realize the fullness of the tree’s expanse. The challenge to tie people’s lives and science together and need for us to continue to develop and expand our reach still exists! Throughout the last 75 years, NSTA has weathered many changes from programmatic offerings to the location of our headquarters to changes in our governance structure to the overall manner in which we engage with our members and meet their needs. These events, strategies, and changes offered opportunities to interact with our members and look towards the future of science education and the growth of our association. While history provides us context, the future provides us promise.

NSTA has become the largest organization in the world devoted to the science teaching and learning and at its core has always been our mission statement “…to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.” Like the Sequoia, we have grown with time and arrive at a new era where our historical roots are deep and there is strength in our message. Our potential reach and growth still hold promise by modifying our strategies to meet the future of science education and needs of our members.  

Join us throughout 2019 as we uncover and reveal some of the new features of NSTAs digital presence and overall engagement strategy. As we look to the past with an eye to the future, it is clear that the science taught and need for science educators who create a love of learning and interest in students is as necessary today as it was in 1944. 

How, we engage ALL students in science learning and ensure that all science educators continue their own lifelong, lifewide, and lifedeep learning process is the focus for our future growth. With that goal in mind, the voice of the science teacher and need for all educators to advocate and speak out for science education is more prominent than ever before.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Future NSTA Conferences

2019 National Conference
St. Louis, April 11–14

2019 STEM Forum & Expo
San Francisco, July 24–26

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