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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 13, 2009 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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scientific facts, to memization of vocabulary. instead of building the kinds of skills and problem solving, decision making, weighing evidence, and also inquiry about the world, excitement of skyance that can motivate young people to become independent learners and to think about the kinds of innovation that they might contribute to and solving problems, build those kind of creative skills. and also to be aware of much more. we see, for example, mathematics, the credit crisis, science health issues and tobacco that we were just discussing. they need to know for themselves. >> why is it not being taught in school? >> our school systems really created and the kinds of descience of schools we have really were built for the middle of the last century when we were trying to get everybody through high school. and we need to get people
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through high school with more academically rigorous ways. there was a labor market for many people to go through. it was unequal but people could get jobs. the auto industry, as an example. the world has changed. the school system hasn't changed for it. we have to have higher expectations for our young people. parents have to know that it isn't what they think their child needs today for a job today, but their child is going to be looking for a job ten years from now, 20 years from now, have to get more education to do it. so we have to do a different job than we've ever done before. and that's why we called it the opportunity equation for everyone. >> whazzwha has the obama administration said and is there policy enough for you? >> the bokes has put a strong em-- obama administration has put a strong emphasis. he spoke at the national
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academy of sciences and called for this level of mobilization. but i think the key place where you see the obama administration pushing this is in the support for higher standards in english, math, and science, across the board. but the work more so -- i don't mean not to answer this but it's both the states that are also pushing this right now. the council of chief state school officers and the national governors association just came out two weeks ago for the common core, which is joining together for clearer standards. and the question is will they take up science next. >> our guest is with us until 9:00 a and the discussion we are going to have is about math and science education in the united states.
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tennessee, doug on our independent line. you are up first. caller: good morning. i really -- what bothers me about this whole mads and science thing is i think -- math and science thing is you have to realize that american students don't see a big incentive to get into it because my son wants to get into computer science and he goes over to the college to register and he sees lines of foreign students who see a way to get into the job market here in this country. and they just don't have the incentive. i think american students are the brightest in the world but they just don't see the incentive to go to school. it's there for the foreign
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students who want to get out of their villages in third world countries. could you comment on that, please? guest: certainly. i think american students need to see a pathway much earlier than they are now. so i understand when your son is at the point of college and looking at computer science that he may or may not have had the opportunity to take the kind of mathematics that some other countries are requiring now. and he's in high school. in sixth and seventh grade students need to see the complete pathway, if you take this now what you need to take in high school and what you need to take in college to be a computer skinettist. i would hope that we would get the message to your son and to others that these growing fields all across the country requiring this kind of education, there are many openings. american students need to also contribute to bringing jobs back here to our country
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through math and science education. and we would like to excite them that they can do it, they should do it, and that we need them to do it. host: is there a creative way to do it? is there a way to communicate that maybe isn't being done in schools currently? guest: i think it isn't being done currently anywhere near enough, my newt compared to what we need to do. one way is through project based learning in where students learn how they're using algebra. so if you use mass transit, you could entirely teach algebra as the algebra project does in this country on how transportation runs in the country and how you could design new systems for it. so that would be one kind of example. a second, and i would challenge you, many of us don't realize we're using algebra in our jobs
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because we're not sitting here doing formulas. but we're using the lodgic that we learned underlying it. we are making equations in our heads by sort of thinking about understanding the difference of causal relationships being able to compare and see what factor is missing and how we're thinking about something. and that's the way you learn that. you learn a certain kind of lodgic by all of the jushed lying mats matics. and we sort of have what is called an unnatural suppression of that. we don't understand it, we don't make those connections for kids. caller: good morning. i'm a first-time caller and glad for c-span. i am a person in the technological field, in between jobs thanks to all the wonderful layoffs. i started out believe it or not when i graduated from college i
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got a master's in music which most people say is the most yules skill at this point because it's very difficult to make a living at it. i went back to school and went back to an associate's degree and i got it in elect ronics and worked my way into computer systems here. and i work in it. and i'm taking certification exams. and one thing i can say that identify seen is that when you take a certification exam or college courses, it's mainly memorizing and spitting out terms and forms and all that that basically are put together. there's not much independent thinking in what's today's technology. business basically wants to tick tate what they need. guest: let me comment on that, and that you've described exactly the poor quality of much of education and much of
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education in the technology field. what we really need are people who have the flunesy with the terms, with the vocabulary, with the basics, but who can use that in creative ways. can use that in ways that we've seen america going forward. and you can see it in the music industries. one of the places where we put together math and music to generate whole new kinds of products and ways of producing. so i would encourage people to take from your statement the notion that it isn't only more of education that we need, but we need a different kind that really emphasizes problem solving and creativity. and using the tools of mathematics and skyance to do that. >> do international teachers apply that differently? do they teach those concepts differently than here in the united states? >> there's something called the
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pizza exam that is another one of those international exams. but it's a program for international student assessment and it looks at 15-year-olds in 80 countries. and they pick the age so you're going of course the way different countries do grades. and in science, one of the things american students do, we do in the middle on this but other countries, students do better on applying scientific concepts and using them sort of on their own. so that it's not something you just did in school and you're waiting to get the right answer, but you've taken it on as a part of the way you think and you can apply it in different situations. and that's the kind of teaching we need. and if i can take a second to say getting and supporting, recruiting and supporting the teachers who can do this is a really big factor in our report and how to do that, the sort of pathway plan for getting teachers who want to teach, who
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are rewarded for teaching, and who have the knowledge and skills that they can teach in ways that also can apply. host: but does that go to the teacher pay and salsry that determine what kind of teacher you get? guest: sure. but we have to be creative and smart. and the report takes this up. we need to recruit -- we need all college students to be taking more math and science and then we have a bigger supply of people to teach. but we also need to think about and experiment with pay incentives, with connections with the business community, the research, the higher education community. so math and science teachers and elementary school teachers can have internships in companies, in universities and research labs where they'll see the apkigse and be renewed throughout their careers. school systems alone can't do this. it needs to be mobilization with everybody.
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science, businesses, universities. >> so internationally that's done better. is it a different approach in the class room? is it a different approach by the administration of these schools? where does it happen mainly? guest: one of the places it happens in the highest performing countries, countries like finland, canada, is that they pay more attention to recruiting and supporting and preparing their teachers and continuous improvement of that, continuous strengthening, in a really focused professional development. so that from the very first day of school, first grade, second grade, children have teachers who are well prepared in math and science. so we don't think of it as only a specialization. and then you imbue it into the class room all the way through. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i appreciate it. your guest keeps referring to
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seems to me that the teachers need improvement. it has nothing to do with the teachers whatsoever. if you can do a graph from 1960's, we used to be number one in everything. we were the highest educational system in the world. every major inner city in the united states, the school system are being destroyed. you have kids that are running like animals, children carrying guns into class, teachers are scared to go in there. you want to do a graph? find out that from 1960 on when they allowed integration into the schools, you tell me there's a direct correlation with the disintegration of our school system. if you want, just as you separate girls from the boys, separate the races and allow the white race to be educated back to the principles. it's obvious, nobody wants to talk about it. but it's the truth. guest: obviously, i strongly disagree with you and believe in equality.
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but more importantly, i think that we have evidence from all tover country of students from every race, every socio economic group in this country performing at high levels and teachers performing at high levels. it's not individual teachers i'm talking about need improvement. i'm saying they have a different job to do because we have to prepare everyone for the kinds of higher education and careers of the future that require this level of math and science education. we can romant size, and of course the past was not a romantic sized past of quality and segregation. we can think schools were good in the path. schools in the 1950's, we had hugely high dropout rates. but many of those students went into unskilled jobs that don't exist any more. and we have to change. we need a country that's unified. and in which we have opportunity for all.
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host: midwest city, oklahoma. democrat's line. caller: i don't think you all have really looked at the public school system i know with my children i had a son who had an english teacher that was teaching chemistry. all he did was look up definitions for the whole semester. and of course he received an a for that class. i have another in the algebra class. i go meet with the teacher. he asked me, is he in my low skill no fail class? and i was stunned? he had a class that no matter what the students grade was he could not give them anything less than a d because they had to pass. it was a no fail class. so i think we really need to look at our school system and we need to pay our math and science teachers appropriately.
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that's all i have to say. guest: i think you've made incredibly important points. and they are very much in synch with the commission report. we have to -- the standards movement is about not lying to children and not lying to their parents about the quality of education they are getting. we need to be clear about what the standards are and you need transparency so you can tell whether that is happening in your own child's school and whether they have a future. and you've made incredibly important points. and if you want to read more about it, you can go to the commission report which is on www.opportunity eication. >> the process of chinese students wanting to go into college and that invoves a test. it's a nine-hour test offered once a year, it's the sole determinate for admission into all chinese colleges and universities. about three in five students make those cut.
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how are those students preparing for that test in high school? guest: china with its huge population has been moving very rapidly to build up secondary education, high school education throughout the country. and one of the ways they've done it is with a national test. we have a very different system in this country, and we have state standards. but i think states coming together as they have been in the common core, voluntarily, so voluntarily saying algebra should not be different in georgia than algebra in north carolina. kids are no longer competing with state by state for a job, they're competing in the country. i mean, in the world. and so moving toward common voluntary assessments is also important. the new england states have been doing this, coming up with a common test.
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the really important point will be what the quality of that test, it has to be really good so that it drives teaching and learning so you're really actually preparing well. host: as far as the u.s. is concerned, what's been the factor of no child left behind in this? guest: i think it has had two can impacts. one has been very positive. we've made student achiefment more visible. and more visible for everyone. we now know where to some extent we have different state standards, where everybody stands. what we have to do now is ramp up the quality of the test so that teachers, if they are teaching to a test, are not teaching to a mindless test. but are teaching to the making sure we're building the kind of knowledge and skills that students need for the future. host: tulsa, oklahoma. caller: good morning.
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what i want to say is that i totally agree with that your guest. she is really making an important point. you see, the problem most of the kids outside in different countries, for example, i'm from the caribbean in jamaica. my 12-year-old kids have to do a national exam like last month in order to go into high school. and every student that takes that test, it's for the whole country. it doesn't separate which district you are from, which district you are from. it allows you to expose them from the tender age all different kinds of things. math, science, everything. nothing is off limits. and he passed significantly and he is going to a good school. and i know, because the problem
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is when a lot of people in the states go to jamaica and they assess the kids there, basically what they're saying for a 12-year-old kid, for a 12-year-old kid in the states compared to a 12-year-old kid out there, they are more advanced in what their exposure to what they learn in schools. guest: i think you're making a range of points that are important here, which is we have to motivate young people and expect more of them. we expect more of them when we give them really serious interesting work to do that when they're putting out their effort in school, they are really learning new skills, they're applying it in real life, and they are doing this across our country in ways that everybody has a real opportunity and a real chance. because they will be competing in the globalized economy.
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host: we hear from a science teacher on our republican line. caller: good morning. thanks for c-span. this is the first time i've called. i've been teaching science for a long, long time. and you can't leatintlebt. it is true that our reflections of our society. kids today and their parents do not -- well, they're not dedicated to education. there are so many other distractions. kids take six or seven periods a day. they go home at night. they have extra curricular activities. and it seems that our society has started drifting toward wanting us to entertain kids.
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we have our school, we have some of the best kids in the country. we really do. it's a public school. there have been so many changes. i don't know, i could talk for hours and hours and i know right now it seems i'm rambling. but we just have to pick a topic. we offer all the sciences at our school. however, kids don't want to spend the time to at night to do the homework, to practice, to do what they need to do to become proficient in science. it is true earlier caller talked about teachers. it is -- we have fine teachers. but it's difficult to find science and math teachers because it's more lucrative to go into other areas. so what is the solution, as your host is mentioning, there is no solution. not one. there are many, many thick things that need to be changed.
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it is true our system is set up to function back in the 1950's or 40's when people are getting out of the war and educating them to go into industry. we no longer are set up that way. guest: well, you're making two points that i think speak to the -- the commission speaks to in its report. and one is none of us can be scomplacent. the world has changed. and this is going to take all of us to work together. parents, teachers, schools, business labor, everybody to do school differently. >> the second is my point about doing school differently. our young people are digital natives. they are engaged in the world in ways that older people have no idea about. and we need to bring that into school. we need to -- we need the research laboratories. we need to give internships to students. we need practical applications and we need to be using
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technology in ways that students can do experiments. our report gives examples of this from all tofere country. thing that is are happening now. we can build on, on islands of innovation around the country. teachers can't do it alone. they need the support of new kinds of school designs and they need all of the assets of the community to be brought to help motivate students and to engage them in how they can create in science and technology. host: how do charter schools and home schoolers factor in? guest: it's interesting, because having been in the school system in new york and we consider charter schools to be part of our school system, they have opportunities to innovate in the same way. i think we want to find ways in which we have schools that are doing some new designs and we have some of that in some charter schools. we also have it in schools like the new vision schools in new york city which are in the
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district but are new school descience and the new tech high schools around the country. so they fit in that way. home schoolers are actually drk -- of course they're very diverse. you have good and bad schools including home schooling. but one thing that hom schoolers have done which is teaching us in the system is they're putting together for their own children all these assets the libraries, the museums. so when you look at organizations of home schoolers, they are teaching astronomy using the science museums and the technology that's available there. so they're not sitting in their kitchens just having kids memorize from books. we need to bring that in from all schools. caller: hi. my name is stephanie. and i was listening to ms. kay hill earlier and she made a good point about how alet of
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the students are not able to learn how to apply what they're learning in school to real life. they're not actually using an application. a lot of times those students are just taught how to do the work maybe in five different ways but then they move on to the next subject after the week is over. so they're not really learning to absorb the information that's been given to them. i live in an area where we're considered a very good quality school district. but what i observed over the years is that the lack of quality teachers, a lot of times every year the school has new teachers because they're trying to get rid of the most expensive ones and hire new ones for less. and we have a lot of parent engagement in the schools. a lot of volunteering. but still, we're scrambling just as much as a lot of the other schools that are not doing as well. and the other thing i think is
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a big factor in why our schools are not doing that well, it sounds kind of crazy to say it but a lot of the schools have removed a lot of the physical education claffs out, music and -- classes, music and other thing that is parents are scrambling after school to get the kids to do. so they're having to do to health clubs or high quan do. >> we'll leave it there. so the opportunity equation report actually takes up management of schools and how you get -- the how of getting math and science teachers and others and the management of systems so everyone realizes that that kind of question or issue brought up about getting new teachers because other teachers are higher paid is actually an important point in this. that we have to make everything work together. we can't solve science and math only by focusing on science and
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math. we have to focus on how we get good teachers, preparation, and how we motivate students. and as parents, how we have to organize and give messages to our kids about what's needed. host: someone who submitted a tweet said all schools need more funding. they have to buy their own papers and supplies. guest: schools need adequate funding to do the new job that we're asking them to do. it's not to get everybody just through high school. it's to be college prepared. as an mrg in the new york -- administrator in the public schools, you have to redeploy the fund. it's having adequate money and that you're using well and using to toward outcomes of the kind we're talking about here. caller: real quick, what do you think the unions have in sort
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of creating a system where their jobs are more important to the union than the education of the kids? guest: well, first of all, we have endorsements from the report from the afc and the nea. i can -- we have a statement of support from 65 organizations, including the unions, including civil rights organizations, math and science groups. i think the unions jist like every other part of this society are recognizing that the world is changing and that the teaching profession will change and needs to change as well. and needs to innovate. and needs to be at the table with a voice that says how are we going to move our system and really do school differently? and that's going to involve changes and collective bargaining agreements and changes from an old industrial
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model into a really -- which is the one you're referencing to a model that's a professional model that says we're a part of innovating to build a new system. and those organizations have made statements in support of moving in this direction. host: another response says class size in baltimore 35. upstate new york, 18 with two aides. guest: class size is one of the factors. the most important factor is the quality of the teachers that is in front of that class. but i think what you're referencing is the inadequacy of fuppeding in many urban districts. and as i said, we need to use that funding well. but we need to make sure that the teachers in front of classes are well qualified and well capable. that has as much -- more of an impact than class size. class size has to get very small in the lowerde

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