Over the past week, we’ve heard from scientists, teachers, and students participating in Letters to a Pre-Scientist regarding the implications of last week’s U.S. elections. How should scientists address this in their upcoming letters? What might they expect to see their pre-scientists write in the next round of letters?
This election is affecting us all in unique ways.
There are clear implications for education policy and science policy in the aftermath of this election that will impact both scientists and students. Additionally, most of the pre-scientists in our program come from underprivileged backgrounds, and some have expressed concerns related to their individual family makeup. However, it is equally necessary to remember that every participant in LPS is an individual and has their own opinion regarding the election. Thus, if you choose to address the election with your pre-scientist, it is important to give them a safe space to address their questions and feelings, regardless of your and their opinions on the outcome.
Most of the pre-scientists sent their most recent letters prior to the election, so scientists may not see their pre-scientists address the election until the next round of letters. Thus, for scientists considering discussing this topic in their November letters, please do so in a kid-friendly manner. You might explain how you believe the elections will impact you; however, you should not make assumptions about the views or feelings of your pen pal. In subsequent letters, if your pre-scientist directs the conversation towards the election results, acknowledge that their feelings are valid, regardless of whether they are in line with your own beliefs.
The mission of Letters to a Pre-Scientist is to support STEM education and literacy in underprivileged communities. Our pre-scientists need your support now as much as ever, whether discussing the election, their interest in science, or other hobbies. Please continue to be a positive influence in your pre-scientist’s life and keep the mission of LPS in mind as you prepare your next letters.