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Science, Math, and Technology

© December 2004 Tony Lawrence

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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---December 14, 2004

I don't know. If things keep up the only way to get a proper education for a child anymore is to take them to a private school and get away from public schools altogether.

It's been a few years since I went to highschool, but during that time it wasn't much more then social indocrination training. I took as many classes on why drugs are bad and what to do when I have to change a baby's diaper as much as I did about math and science. Now I have a several-years-younger brother who is in the middle of it, and it sounds worse then it did before. He'd come home stomp around telling everybody how evil cigerattes are, but what he learned about science I'd never know.

No discipline, no teachers, no nothing. He had problems getting his work done. My Mom would do what she could and would ground him, take away privilages and such, but even the simpliest request of assistance from teachers (such as: "Will you sign off on a peice of paper at the end of class so that I know he turned his work in") was met with indifference by the majority of his teachers.

If I knew then what I know now I would of just dropped out. Everything of value I learned in 4 years of HighSchool I could of learned in a few semesters of full-time community college.


"Everything of value I learned in 4 years of High School I could of learned in a few semesters of full-time community college."

The best education I received was in the Navy. I learned more about technology, rational thinking, problem-solving and getting the job done in a jiffy while on a warship than could ever had been taught in a school. Besides, we got to shoot really big guns. <Grin>

There's an ancient saying, "Those who can do. Those who can't, teach." To be sure, there are very capable teachers. However, as Tony suggests -- and the speaker on the NPR show he was talking about -- our teachers aren't likely to be much better than the schools from which they graduate. Frankly, I'm totally unimpressed with what's coming out schools nowadays. As for the politically correct BS that being used to poison young minds...well, if you read my remarks about German taxation on Internet service, you don't want to get any steam going in my boiler over PC BS.


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