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Thanks for letting me comment. Excellent topic and guests!
It's not just about math. The question is, do we really want a well-educated thinking population? Other nations do and there is no mystery about how to accomplish this goal. Instead, we continue to treat the issue as if it's a conundrum to be endlessly discussed and debated. Process is no substitute for the commitment of shared resources, family support, value development, and all the other things that we know are necessary to accomplish something important as a society. No amount of good intentions and great ideas are going to make much difference.
The formula for improving math scores, and the quality of education generally, is simple: 1) we must learn to value and respect educators (view them as authority figures, pay them more, and expect more from them as professionals), 2) we must reverse the trend toward anti-intellectualism and learn to revere knowledge and intellect for its own sake, and 3) we must provide the social safety net required to make children physically and mentally prepared to learn. Without these, any plan to improve education in this country succumb to continued dithering and mediocrity. Could we do what it takes?
Maybe. There are many good examples from our nations past. I think back to the way we taught our people to stop littering and become environmentally aware in the 1970s. It took the combined effort of schools, the mass media, government, individuals and families. It took a willingness to stand up to vested business and political interests and a willingness to make a change within ourselves. Unfortunately, we may no longer have the requisite sense of unity as a people and a national consciousness anymore.
The one bright spot is our education system itself. Over the last 30 years, educators have done a marvelous job making improvements considering the paltry amount of moral and financial support we give them. The quality of my children's public education is much higher than the one I received. The problem is not the educators. We have an education system ready for the task. It's up to the rest of us to change our values and commitment, to give it life, and let it give us the knowledge and intellectual freedom everyone deserves.
posted 2 years, 1 month ago
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