Wednesday, September 27, 2006
"In a nationally televised Oval Office address Tuesday, President Bush expressed the concern that if Iran is allowed to enrich its students unchecked, many of them could end up anywhere, with some potentially landing in major university centers in New York and Los Angeles.
'The U.S. stopped enriching its students decades ago, and we call upon Iran to do the same,' Bush said."
Friday, September 22, 2006
I am starting to build a wiki page with some more examples of competition programs. Feel free to add more information.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
EEC's efforts are not just about teaching math and science skills. They start with a focus on equity - ending discrimination based on gender, race/ethnicity, disability, and level of family income. The need for changing attitudes about science and math and offering engaging learning opportunities follow from this.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
“Einstein was a kind of physics hippie, a man whose creativity was inseparable from his refusal to play by the rules of academia and buy into its comfortable certainties. He reminds me of Bob Dylan kicking out an electrifying “Like a Rolling Stone”… Einstein could easily have compromised…Instead he chose a line of work that allowed his thoughts to hum freely until they spun out the song of special relativity.”
“every natural philosopher before Einstein, going back to Aristotle and beyond, accepted some version of [absolute space with variable physical laws.] Einstein arrive at special relativity almost purely from an examination of logical flaws in the then current theories of physics, flaws that were evident for all to see. … He insisted on examining the workings of the world at a more rigorous level than even the most illustrious of his predecessors, until he was totally certain that the system made sense. His requirement of total consistency forced him to take seriously the problems that his predecessors and colleagues alike had swept aside as trivialities or unanswerable…”
Can education, like physics, be revolutionized by a “Swiss Patent Clerk,” looking at the fundamental things that fade into the background for those too close to the issues? Clearly this has already started to happen with fundamental laws of schooling being challenged by grassroots or non-“establishment” efforts (See Deborah Meier, KIPP, High Tech High, and more!)
Einstein’s revolution was built upon critical work by Maxwell and others, and relativity was only acclaimed after being confirmed by findings from other researchers. We can expect an education revolution to be preceded and followed by critically important work by established experts. But the lesson of Einstein is that anyone out there can push the fringe, even challenge the fundamental principles – the length of the school day, governance, funding streams, or anything that needs to change if every child is to succeed.
Monday, September 11, 2006
On a personal note, after winning multiple math awards throughout my youth, I hardly considered a math or science major in college. Special thanks belong to the middle school principal and Teach for America staff who trusted me to bring my passion for math to a 6th grade classroom!
Friday, September 08, 2006
Our efforts in education must include all three pieces:
- Engagement - "The spark" that gets a child interested in learning.
- Capacity - "The skills" needed to continue to the next level of understanding.
- Continuity - "The pathways" that provide access to higher learning and careers.
Some educators worry that hands-on, inquiry-based science does not actually lead to higher-order understanding. Yet, quality inquiry learning is considered necessary by all of the major science standards (NSTA has a good position paper summarizing this.)
Some policy makers think that a child with an interest in science and the skills necessary to achieve success will find the path to a career. However, there are many more obstacles, especially for the millions of children living in poverty, who choose jobs over career-related internships, or who cannot afford college. Even given the resources, a child may never pursue a science or engineering career if they have never seen a role model - someone who looks like them - follow a similar path.
So, as we meet the challenge of raising a generation of science and technology workers, let us keep in mind that there are many pieces to the puzzle. Luckily, none of us faces that challenge alone.