Thursday, November 11, 2010

American kids ‘get’ it, but say they’re not getting 'it'

I’m talking about a new survey on whether kids in this country appreciate the importance of mathematics and science education.

They definitely “get” the importance. According to the survey,

• “99 percent of teens believe it is important to be good at math and science.”

• “58 percent aspire to pursue a math- or science-related career.”

But, our teens don’t think they are getting enough math and science to compete against the rest of the world. The survey also found:

• “American teens are not confident in the United States’ ability to compete in math and science.” “When asked which country is best at math and science today, 90 percent selected a choice other than the United States, with 67 percent choosing Japan or China.”

American teens have some definite ideas why other countries are ahead of the United States in math and science.

• “51 percent of teens who are not confident in the United States’ math and science abilities believe this is because Americans do not work hard enough.”

• “44 percent of those who do not think the United States is the best at math and science blame a lack of discipline.”

Of special note:

• “Just a third of teens blame lack of funding or school emphasis for poor math and science abilities in the United States.”

So, how are our schools going to ‘get’ kids to ‘get’ the self-discipline to work harder? Apparently, the self-esteem “stuff” and the other things we’ve been hearing about for the past 20 years or so since radical education reform started across the country have not worked. Spending a lot more money hasn’t worked, either, though some educators definitely don’t ‘get’ that lesson.

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