I keep hearing that the United States ranks low in student performance in math and science. This can be interpreted at least two ways.

Interpretations 1: The United States is doing a poor job educating students in two subjects that are vital to the future of the world.

Interpretation 2: Students in the United States realize they will never need to know that mylonite is a breccieated metamorphic rock frequently found in a fault zone.

If you have kids, you know that most of what they learn in math and science is completely useless. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that kids have figured it out too.

I grant you that it is important for the future of the economy that we produce plenty of scientists and inventors and researchers. But how does it help anyone that a future chef can tell you which critters evolved in which epoch? He just needs to know which ones are good eatin'.

I'm all in favor of benchmarking against other countries for education. But isn't the average grade for math and science the most obviously useless and misleading statistic one could follow?
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Oct 20, 2008
I'm sorry Scott, but I'm not buying - I know you like to rattle the bars sometimes, but that just doesn't feel like your real opinion.

...Alright, I can't resist...English and Maths, surely, are selected because they form the bedrock of knowledge upon which all other disciplines sit. You may not NEED to know how to categorise a brecciated rock, but at least knowing that things CAN be categorised by criteria other than shiny/bad is probably a useful tool.
Oct 20, 2008
We would all like to be considered above average, but in reality, if everyone was a genius the midpoint of the grades would show that a lower IQ'd genius was 'average'. Some of the smartest folks in school with me were misfits in society. Grades are nice and all that, but how do you apply it in life? We need the folks to do the mundane, day to day stuff, and our students might need to be prepared to do the non-glamorous tasks in life. Someone needs to be the grocers, dental techs, accountants, and office staff. They're the folks who keep the society flowing, even if they're not in the spotlight. And smart in numbers may not translate to the guys who're smart in automotive maintenace (they have a real skill) or even landscaping (I have a purple thumb at times). Book learning and tests are one thing, knowlege in life can be a totally different thing.
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