some thoughts on education in America:
"Productivity" has been a cherished value for some time. It is also the cause of global warming, toxic waste, and a growing plastic continent in the Pacific Ocean. Fundamentally, what is needed, is far less productivity, especially in childhood when the mind is forming. A society that values "thought" and "intelligence" cannot be a society that values "productivity" in itself. Our crisis in America in "science and math" isn't that we don't punish people enough for not studying these subjects; rather, it's that progress in science and math is the result of thoughtful people who imagine ways to improve the possibilities of life. People that are taught to be "productive" are not thoughtful, and have no reason to imagine anything.
The "crisis" in American education is not a crisis of teaching techniques. It is a crisis of values. The "managers" of our society, are by in large, "rich business people," who are in fact, uneducated themselves. Knowing how to sell hamburgers does not qualify Ray Kroc as one who understands education. As long as "profit" and "productivity" remain the core values of our society, we will continue to have inferior schools with students that have no real incentives. As long as we continue to conflate the notions of "success in business" with "success in life" our education will be a failure. We're like 100 years into hundreds of strong criticisms of these values... yet they continue to remain unchecked, and become more powerful everyday.