I hate to be the voice of bad news, but the U.S. must face a CRISIS IN EDUCATION!
- When students in the U.S. are compared to students in other countries, they simply do not measure up.
- U.S. teachers are central to student achievement, but “a discouraging number of them are incompetents.”
- The top students in the U.S. are being mis-served, their precious potential squandered.
- Science and math are vital for the U.S., and since we are woefully behind, new approaches are necessary.
- And “[m]ost parents just plain neglect this job, through lack of time, lack of interest or lack of confidence.”
But I must also add, all of this is from 1958—a series in LIFE magazine in fact.
How on earth did we all survive?
With Professors, We Need You!, Nicholas Kristof makes a case for professors as public intellectuals:
Professors today have a growing number of tools available to educate the public, from online courses to blogs to social media. Yet academics have been slow to cast pearls through Twitter and Facebook. Likewise, it was TED Talks by nonscholars that made lectures fun to watch (but I owe a shout-out to the Teaching Company’s lectures, which have enlivened our family’s car rides).
I write this in sorrow, for I considered an academic career and deeply admire the wisdom found on university campuses. So, professors, don’t cloister yourselves like medieval monks — we need you!
While Kristof’s plea stumbles in many places (for example, left-leaning academics appear to be discounted out of hand, suggesting that society can somehow be changed only by academics who hold ideologies similar to that public), Daniel Willingham’s follow up presents a strong case as well, notably targeting the role of professors as public intellectuals in the education debate: Συνέχεια