Is there a crisis in science and math education?[layout edited for clarity]
Sent to the Boston Globe, March 4, 2011
I'm all for science education, but there is no crisis ("Schools work hard to fit lessons into busy day," 2/4).
American students are doing well in science and math. American children in low-poverty schools outscore students in nearly all other countries on international science/math tests. Overall scores are unspectacular because over 20% of our children live in poverty, the highest percentage among all industrialized countries.
The US produces more top science students than other countries: On the 2006 PISA math and science tests, 60,000 American students scored in the top category, compared to 34,000 Japanese students. Also, American students are already taking lots of math and science, more than the economy needs: For example, in 2007, 30% of college-bound high-school seniors had taken calculus, but only 5% of new openings require a math/science background.
There is no shortage of science/technology experts in the US: There are three qualified applications for each science/tech opening. Also, the US contributed 63% of the top 1% most-cited science/tech publications in 2004 and according to the World Economic Forum the US ranks second out of 133 countries in "quality of scientific research institutions."
Stephen Krashen (See link for list of references/citations)