So, everyone agrees that kids need to study more math and science. And that the quality of their instruction in those subjects should be much more rigorous. Right?
If you listen to politicians, business leaders, and other education “experts”, you hear that refrain all the time.
However, according to yet another new study, 70% of parents surveyed were satisfied with things the way they are now. At least white parents were happy.
The survey of about 2,600 students and parents found that, overall, only 25 percent of parents think their children should be studying more math and science, and 70 percent think things “are fine as they are now.”
However, minority parents were less satisfied with the math and science education their children received, with 44 percent of African-American parents and 64 percent of Hispanic parents saying they were satisfied, compared with 73 percent of white parents.
While some might be surprised with this attitude from parents, no one will be shocked to find out that 72% of the kids questioned said they shouldn’t have to take advanced science courses like physics.
The article includes some verbal hand wringing from some of those educational “experts” but the tactic of trying to convince students (and their parents) that these subjects are important to their future doesn’t work. Never has.
Kids don’t have the ability or willingness to look that far down the road, and the response from the parents comes from the popular attitude that “I never have to use this stuff, why should my kids study it.”.
As much as we have been trying to sell the need to learn higher levels of math and science for decade upon decade (and I spent many years as an Algebra salesman :-), it’s never really had much effect on the most important part of the audience.
Do you suppose maybe, just maybe, we should try a different approach?
Rather than aiming every kid like an arrow at Calculus and Physics, we should be offering them a good foundation in practical math and science (statistics, anyone?) and more exploration of how those subjects are applied in the real world.
In fact, I’d be very happy if every student graduated with the basic knowledge necessary to simply understand the many science-related social and political issues we face. The ones so often mangled by politicians and their pet media.
Of course, some students will choose to study the sciences at a higher level in high school. But most will learn the skills they need when it becomes important to them, something that may not occur until many years later.
Welcome to the way things work in the real world.