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RE: FW: Education - Math & Science Appropriations II

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I used to think that the entire responsibility for a student's success
in school rested on his parents. Chris may be correct when he stated:
"Parental attitudes toward education are about 90% of what it takes" but
while parents desire stronger skills in education, only a small
percentage are capable of participating in the process (hands on). I
believe most parents lack the understanding of the methods being taught
in school to adequately help their child. In my case, helping my
granddaughter in something that I teach at college level is like pulling
teeth. She resents me teaching her and I am worn down by the arguments.
I don't have the skills necessary to get through to my own grandchild. I
think that the majority of parents rely upon the educational system to
provide the tools and training that our children need to succeed in math
and science. 
This is not the same direction of thought as I have in reading, language
arts and social studies. These seem to be easier to teach a child
because the surround us more than the math and sciences on a daily
basis. While my granddaughter is aware of the war in Afghanistan, she is
unable to understand the difference between fractions and percentages.
We can speculate why current events occur, but most parents don't have
the ability or skill to explain a mathematical principle. Reading the
book and remembering the relationship between fractions, decimals and
percentages is not enough to help a 12-year old understand how it
affects them daily or where it will be needed in their future.

As a society, we need to invest in more efficient teachers and tools to
help in any area that the majority of parents are lacking. Forgetting
the constitutionality of who is responsible for education (state or
federal government), I would suggest that if left to each state,
students would lose the opportunity to assure equality of education.
Each state would allocate money based upon priority needs and certainly
some states are much more prosperous than others. Left to the federal
government to establish programs and compliance guidelines, allocations
would ideally be divided by student rather than demographics. The
changes of maintain equality of education would be more consistent. 

This does not diminish the need for each state or the federal government
to acknowledge that we need financial inducement to train and hire more
teachers with creative abilities to convey to students difficult
concepts that they must learn to form a strong foundation in the math
and sciences. Teachers are among the lowest paid jobs in our country.
Why is this if we value education so highly? If we placed the same value
on educators as we do sports figures and movie stars, then possibly the
quality of our education in the United States will improve dramatically.

Finally, we need to evaluate the effectiveness of the teachers that we
have. Becoming a teacher is easy. Becoming a good teacher who is able to
communicate difficult principles is an entirely different matter. We
need to evaluate the teachers we have and weed out those that may
require additional education rather than simply accept. Money has a way
of inducing creative people into the teaching profession. If this is
what it takes, then the first step is to encourage those entering
college to become teachers and then make the expectation of their
performance in the classroom the same as what we are now discussing as a
minimum standard for engineers to practice. Require continuing education
and keep training teachers in new techniques that will make them more
effective teachers.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001 8:48 AM
To: ‡
Subject: RE: FW: Education - Math & Science Appropriations II

> other nations such as Japan,
>Taiwan, South Korea, and (I'm sure) India and Pakistan, to name but a
>are able to educate their youngsters to excel in math and science on a
>fraction of the money we spend here in the United States.
Nations don't educate children. Nor does forcing children to do
My own experience (extends over several generations) is that kids teach 
themselves what they think is worth learning. Parents and teachers 
encourage by the examples they set, good and bad. School systems simply 

Parental attitudes toward education are about 90% of what it takes. When

parents respect learning and make a real effort to provide access to 
books and experiences, kids come out able to read and write and think. 
Where parents only think about education as a way to get an approved
they shouldn't wonder if their kids ask why they need history and 
literature? Where parents demand rote memorization and an unquestioning 
attitude you get graduates who think that learning means drudgery. Where

parents fear learning, you get censorship and narrow-mindedness and a
of other nasty things. Where parents emphasize a winning football team, 
you get a few college jocks, a very few NFL starters and a lot of people

whose life peaked at the Senior Prom.


Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)


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