"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, December 15, 2012

• Heavy science, math, technology focus in education: A good idea?

Posted in Dallas Morning News, Dec. 13, 2012: http://letterstotheeditorblog.dallasnews.com/index.php?s=Krashen&submit=Search

Re: “Science, math are paving the way – Schools chief using model to set district on positive course” (Dec 10).
The announcement that the “Lancaster superintendent is shaping his district to be a science, math model,” with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math from pre-K to grade 12, is based on the assumption that this kind of focus will prepare students better for the workplace. Maybe, maybe not.
According to research done by Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman, there is no shortage of science and technology graduates. In fact, Salzman has concluded that there are two to three qualified graduates for each science/tech opening.

Stephen Krashen

Salzman, H. & Lowell, B. L. 2007. Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1034801
Salzman, H. and Lowell, L. 2008. Making the grade. Nature 453 (1): 28-30.
Salzman, H. 2012. No Shortage of Qualified American STEM Grads (5/25/12) http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-foreign-stem-graduates-get-green-cards/no-shortage-of-qualified-american-stem-grads.
See also:
Teitelbaum, M. 2007. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, November 6, 2007

Original article: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/desoto-lancaster/headlines/20121210-lancaster-superintendent-is-shaping-his-district-to-be-a-science-math-model.ece

1 comment:

  1. If we simply posit that education as a social institution is intended to create acceptance of a particular worldview then the "focus" on STEM in public schools is sound and sensible.

    Schools prepare students to accept the social and political ideologies of the governing groups. Jobs are irrelevant. The lack of jobs is an example of "incoherence" in the society, and so the good thing (the illustrative thing) about your statistic--no work even for these "right thinking" folks--is that it MIGHT lead to what Peckham has called a "cultural transcendence"--or more crudely, an awareness of the manure being shoveled.

    That is, people might recognize the incoherence if their necessary and socially validated "career-centered" education turns out failing to "cohere" into prosperity.