Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Change The Equation

This is a complicated issue, no doubt about it. To even broach the subject of where we went wrong in the STEM education standards is a vert delicate arena. I have my own theories and observations but to voice them is to stir up a huge dust storm that obscures the issues.

First of all quit comparing our student's test scores to those of the Chinese, Indians, Russians or Japanese. For crying out loud, it's patently obvious that is far easier to educate a homogenous population than the population that we have here in the US. And for pity's sake how about the 'holier than thou' Yankee states quit looking down your noses at the southern states. Do you really want me to point out the elephant in the room? Have you looked at your demographics lately? Before I even go into the issues that haunt and hamper differing races and ethnicities, it again goes back to my assertion that it is easier to educate a homogenous population than one that is truly diverse. Here are some of the numbers to highlight the different challenges that TX and CA face:

Here are the percentages of the state population that is caucasian ( non- hispanic)
NY : 60%
CT: 73%
MA: 79%
OR: 80%
PA : 81%
WI: 85%
IA: 90%

and now for TX and CA, 46% and 41% respectively. So you see that these extremely heavily populated and popular states are a  majority-minority state. So as the 'oh so educated'  people from the east coast, upper midwest and Northwest lecture us and cluck their tongues at us, why don't they applaud the fact that we 2 states are making great strides in educating the future of America. This is what America will look like in a few decades and generations. Gasp, yes, don't panic up there in Iowa, there might actually be a minority living on your street and going to your schools. We are living it. We are functioning and embracing our people.  We drive down our streets where the billboards are entirely in Spanish. We have leaders and employees that reflect the ingredients from all over the world.

So as these think tanks wring their hands and whisper "why can't they all just emulate how WE do it up here in CT?" Here's the answer: because our population is diverse. Deal with it. Accept it and plan accordingly. Do you spend more money per pupil than we do in TX? Yes, and you know what?  You also spend more on housing, food, gas and entertainment. It's not about comparing dollars spent or standardized test scores. How about some suggestions about how to improve STEM education for the real demographic distribution of the region?

So the organization" Change The Equation" sent letters to each of 50 governors asking them to take steps to address the dismal education standards in STEM areas. I just wonder how many of these members of the organization actually live and work in an area with majority minority populations. I also wonder how many of these members give any credit to the enormous task TX and CA are facing with educating such tremendous numbers of people, many of whom do not speak English.

I really want to find some suggestions about how we can improve here in TX. I'll try to articulate some thoughts next time....

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