Tue Dec 14 21:33:01 2004 Science, Posted by Tony Lawrence
I caught part of an NPR interview today that talked about the sorry state of American education in math and science. I tried to find the link at wbur.org but I must be missing it.. anyway:
The woman speaking said that inferior course content was part of the problem. She said this in a much nicer and more indirect way, but effectively she also noted that the teachers are too clueless to teach more advanced content anyway. I can well remember that my high school teachers (supposedly teaching what they'd now call "Advanced Placement") were apt to make incredibly ignorant comments on scientific matters, and I suppose not much has changed. Not to be offensive to teachers as a group - certainly there are bright and dedicated teachers, but of course they too are just a product of deteriorating schools, which is exactly what this woman said.
Although I didn't hear this discussed, we also have the problem of the ultra-religious influencing textbooks and course content that contradicts their religious beliefs. Not helpful.
Again, I didn't hear this discussed either, but grade inflation and the feel-good nobody is a failure and everyone must at least graduate high school policies don't help either. The reason a high school diploma became a minimum necessity was because it used to mean something - unfortunately I don't think it means much now.
If the U.S. doesn't wake up and start demanding better, we over here are going to fall even more behind and sooner or later that will kill us - economically and otherwise.
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