Why is this not being discussed

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I sent the following to School Board Member Ed Frank.
Good Morning Ed,
My youngest brother is the manager of world wide sales for IBM’s Quantum Computer. He sits with many PhD’s and it is not uncommon for the talks to turn to the lack of American scientists and computer engineers needed to advance the technology of today. I sent him the following which as a school board member I hope you might also take to heart and share with others. The Board can crunch untold volumes of funding numbers but in the end the question still remains. “Are we preparing our children to be able to prosper in their lives and at the same time add value to the nation as a whole?”

Attn: Kenneth Wood
I hope you can find the time to think about what I am writing here for understanding the quandary we are in and you as an industry leader are facing.
The following is out of the 48 page report “A Nation At Risk” written in 1982. I encourage anyone with the slightest interest in preparation of children and regaining the lead America once held read it because this quote from it is far more sobering today than it was 42 years ago:

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.

From page 11 of “A Nation At Risk”

Indicators of the Risk
 The educational dimensions of the risk before us have been amply documented in testimony received by the Commission. For example:
  x International comparisons of student achievement, completed a decade ago, reveal that on 19 academic tests American students were never first or second and, in comparison with other industrialized nations, were last seven times.

x Some 23 million American adults are functionally illiterate by the simplest tests of everyday reading, writing, and comprehension.

  x About 13 percent of all 17-year-olds in the United States can be considered functionally illiterate. Functional illiteracy among minority youth may run as high as 40 percent.

x Average achievement of high school students on most standardized tests is now lower than 26 years ago when Sputnik was launched.

  x Over half the population of gifted students do not match their tested ability with comparable achievement in school. 

x The College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) demonstrate a virtually unbroken decline from 1963 to 1980. Average verbal scores fell over 50 points and average mathematics scores dropped nearly 40 points.

  x College Board achievement tests also reveal consistent declines in recent years in such subjects as physics and English.

 x Both the number and proportion of students demonstrating superior achievement on the SATs (i.e., those with scores of 650 or higher) have also dramatically declined.

  x Many 17-year-olds do not possess the “higher order” intellectual skills we should expect of them. Nearly 40 percent cannot draw inferences from written material; only one-fifth can write a persuasive essay; and only one-third can solve a mathematics problem requiring several steps.

  x There was a steady decline in science achievement scores of U.S. 17-year-olds as measured by national assessments of science in 1969, 1973, and 1977. 

x Between 1975 and 1980, remedial mathematics courses in public 4-year colleges increased by 72 percent and now constitute one-quarter of all mathematics courses taught in those institutions.

  x Average tested achievement of students graduating from college is also lower.

  x Business and military leaders complain that they are required to spend millions of dollars on costly remedial education and training programs in such basic skills as reading, writing, spelling, and computation.

 The Department of the Navy, for example, reported to the Commission that one-quarter of its recent recruits cannot read at the ninth grade level, the minimum needed simply to understand written safety instructions. Without remedial work they cannot even begin, much less complete, the sophisticated training essential in much of the modern military. These deficiencies come at a time when the demand for highly skilled workers in new fields is accelerating rapidly. For example:

x Computers and computer-controlled equipment are penetrating every aspect of our lives–homes, factories, and offices.

x One estimate indicates that by the turn of the century millions of jobs will involve laser technology and robotics.

x Technology is radically transforming a host of other occupations. They include health care, medical science, energy production, food processing, construction, and the building, repair, and maintenance of sophisticated scientific, educational, military, and industrial equipment. 
Oh sure we can look at our own kids and say they are doing ok but the nation at large absolutely isn’t. This is where the book I sent you “Thank You For Being Late” comes in. The covid shutdown of schools was the most glaring example how far education has slipped behind. The educational system could not figure out how to implement technology developed in 1970, the personal computer. This tech has been left out because it threatens the teachers up front of a class who have no idea how to integrate it anywhere near the level its capabilities provide. There is no other reason. From what I am reading those covid chrome books were shelved back in the coat closet as teachers once again took control.

I wrote the following to the New York Times back in 2017:

Why do we keep kicking this dog down the road? If anything homework needs to be done at school where the learning facilitator can help the students in the process. Quit trying to change education while at the same time trying to maintain the 150-year-old “does not work anymore” model just so we do not disrupt teacher jobs. A must read is Sal Khan’s “The One World Schoolhouse, Education Reimagined”. The ultimate of frustration is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

This is where Clayton Christensen’s writing in 2007, “Disrupting Class” and his co-author, Michael Horn’s book in 2022, “From Reopen to Reinvent” should be coming to the forefront of any discussion on what to do next. The paradigm shift at this late stage of the game has no other choice than to majorly affect entrenched societal norms like public education being the free daycare for all and even the 8-5 work/school day.
I hope this is being discussed at IBM.


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