Bill Nye surprised and annoyed many homeschoolers in 2014 when he suggested on his Facebook page that homeschooled students would be poorly equipped to excel in science.
When a homeschooling mother asked him if he would consider creating a secular science curriculum for homeschoolers, he replied:
Use your judgement. The rest of us out here, want your kids to appreciate society and the importance of working together in school and in life. A person working alone will probably not build the future 797 airplane, for example. It takes people who can work with and around people. Carry on.
Dr. Nye (whose doctorates are honorary) seems to need some education on the matter of homeschooling and science.
Perhaps Dr. Nye has not heard of the Human Genome Project, the Mandelbrot Set or Schrödinger’s cat? How about RSS feed? Honda?
Perhaps Dr. Nye is not aware that both the current director of the National Institute of Health and the current director of the Office of National AIDS Policy were homeschooled.
Or that, ironically enough, both the creator of the Lear Jet and “the father of the jet engine” were homeschooled for part of their education.
Homeschoolers may actually be better suited to build that 797 airplane, actually.
It goes without saying that many of our world’s most famous scientists were home educated back when homeschooling was more common. These include great scientists such as Alexander Graham Bell, Ernst Mach, Pierre Curie, Mary Blackwell, Clara Barton, Joseph Priestley and Thomas Edison (who only lasted three months in conventional school and was home educated by his mother from then on).
However, many of our greatest modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) contributors have also emerged from the homeschool community. Many 20th century and 21st century STEM leaders were homeschooled for at least a significant part of their childhoods.
In response to Dr. Nye’s ignorant comment, I compiled a round-up of 25 modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders who were homeschooled. It includes some pretty phenomenal men and women.
Who knows what the next generation of homeschoolers will contribute?
Perhaps they can teach Bill Nye a thing or two.