Friday, January 7, 2011
The U.S. is ranked 35th in math and 29th in science worldwide. We've talked about these rankings on New Voices before. You've heard them for ages. Of course everyone wants us to be number 1. But what can any one person do? What's the point?
The truth is, if you're reading this post you know the statistics. You know we're dismally behind other industrialized countries where math and the sciences are concerned. You can blame it on the variance in international school systems. You can account for differences in total students being educated or percentage of education funded by the federal government. You can say that American students are just getting a more well-rounded education.
Or you can stand up and say, "We're not going to take it anymore."
You can pledge to get involved. To stand up for American students by personally interacting with an American student. This isn't someone else's responsibility. It is mine and yours.
Maybe your area doesn't have a wide variety of options for young people to get engaged in exciting STEM enrichment activities; but there are two things you can do right now:
1. Volunteer as a mentor or tutor. Local communities and schools have many after school and sometimes evening programs to help engage students with academic topics.
2. Invite a local science or math class to come and see where you work. If you're not sure that your work environment is worth a visit, try to remember what it was like to go on field trips as a kid. Anywhere new is exciting and interesting.(a la Fever Pitch below)
Connect a mind in your community. If not you, than who?