Math and science without fear

On Community College Spotlight: Americans need to get over their fear of math and science, says Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Texas considers linking 10 percent of college funding to student outcomes, such as completing a degree.

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  1. I don’t think it’s fear, exactly. After all we’ve never had more self-confident, constantly reinforced students than we do now.

    I think it’s laziness, on the part of parents (not bothering to explain and constantly reinforce to their kids why education in general, but particularly math and science, is useful), teachers (teaching math and science is harder) and students (math and science are harder than wearing a costume to english class for Shakespeare day).

    As a nation, we seem to have opted for “easier” in most aspects of daily life and this stuff is just one more victim. In some part, we’ve been victim of our own success. Go back a hundred years and the difference between getting ahead without an education and getting ahead with one were deep and profound. The lifestyle difference between upper and lower middle class was huge. Today, not so much.

  2. If there is fear or dislike of math, and I certainly have observed widespread dislike, poor curriculum and instruction, especially at the ES level, are a large part of the cause. The other large part of the problem is the ed schools, who have spent the last 50+ years doing their best to destroy traditional math instruction. Instead of building a solid base of knowledge and skills, akin to the foundation of a building, such knowledge and skills have been marginalized and demonized, resulting in the weak, incoherent and non-sequential curricula and ineffective instructional methods that are now typical in our schools. (Kumon and its fellows are grateful) Of course, phonics, grammar, spelling and compostion have been similarly gutted. I think the whole mess is being driven by an inherently flawed view of human nature and the impossible desire to achieve identical outcomes across the spectrum of human talents; all to be achieved through “fun” activities and no serious effort.

  3. Mom of Four,

    Your last sentence nails it. Keep commenting!

  4. Not only does her last sentence nail it, but she’s SO correct that I hope she’s not tracked down and arrested for explaining so perfectly why our kids aren’t learning anything (and aren’t supposed to!).