October 20, 2008
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?