"I am afraid we are getting close to it being too late. Because you can’t change the school system in the short term, we might be just beginning to pay the price for the neglect of the last twenty years.” – Steve Jobs
Sobering, but oh so painfully true. Changing the school system is a long, tedious process that too often pits two extremes against one another with little attempt at compromise. Schools of education, have in their majority, espoused an extremist view of constructivism. Meanwhile, proponents of direct instruction have been the minority voice for the past two decades. On the one hand you have a classical education and on the other a discovery learning model. It’s either one or the other—no compromise, no negotiation, and no resolution in sight.
Is it not possible that we can take the best of both schools of thought and create something even greater? Is a philosophy of unconditional surrender really helping our children or has it just come down to a matter of being right? Aren’t we wise enough to open our minds to the possibility that perhaps the other side is right about some things? That perhaps someone else has a good point about a particular concept and that does not necessarily discredit our own models? That perhaps, there are areas of weakness that can be overcome in some other way?Can we not find synergy and innovation in which the sum is greater than its parts?
In an ideal world we would be enlightened enough to put aside these differences and find the common ground which is certain to exist if we sincerely have our children’s interests and the future success of our nation at heart.
I’m afraid that if we don’t do something today, if we don’t start listening to each other, coming up with convincing research that makes sense and is free of financial or personal agendas, we are most certainly doomed to another twenty years of neglect. That would be a tragic misfortune, for our children and theirs as well.
The chasm between mathematicians and
educators must be bridged if our children are to be better served. ... I look forward to a future where mathematics education is the joint effort of mathematicians and educators." -- H. Wu
"How mathematicians can contribute to K-12 mathematics education", February 26, 2006