The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Americans lack math, sciences

  While Americans pride themselves on having the best, most advanced country in the world, we trail behind other countries in the areas of math, science and technology.
   Math scores have remained stagnant since the early 1970s, and fewer than half of high school graduates in 2005 were ready for college level science.
   A Nation at Risk report recommended in 1983 that high school students be required to take a minimum of three years of math and science to graduate. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 22 states and the District of Columbia require this amount.
   Only one state, Alabama, requires four years of science and math for current students to graduate.
   Jobs requiring science, engineering or technical training will increase to 6.3 million by 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, yet fewer American students are graduating with science and engineering degrees.
   In 2004, colleges in India graduated 350,000 engineers compared to 70,000 in America. If this trend continues, America is at risk of losing our competitive edge in technology to other countries.
   A recent article in Time magazine, written by Michael Lemonick, quotes Stanford University president John Hennessy: “Imagine, that the next round of innovations in networking is done in India or China. How many years is it before either Cisco relocates to India or China and grows most of its new jobs there, or the next Cisco is actually created there?”
   So, how can we turn this trend around?
   Time magazine writer Rebecca Winters said the love for science begins at an early age.
   “ The years from Baby Einstein to AP physics are an increasing source of worry for corporations like Merck and for colleges and universities, which see a shrinking pipeline of talented U.S. students pursuing the sciences,” she said in a recent article.
   In Looking for a Lab-Coat Idol, Winters quotes the director of the Merck Institute for Science Education, Carlo Parravano: “Children love to explore the natural world,” he said. “By fourth grade, we squash that curiosity with the way we teach science.”
   President Bush recently announced his plan to help with this problem in his State of the Union Address, offering the American Competitiveness Initiative, which proposes $380 million in new federal support to improve the quality of math, science and technological education in our K-12 schools.
   Charles Krauthammer, Time magazine writer, has a different view about the recent statistics claiming that Americans are doomsayers and love fear.
   “ Our gloom amid boom is a comment more on our national mood swings than on the state of our economy or scientific culture,” he said. “If we can just keep our heads, take our meds and resist fear itself, we’ll do just fine.”
   But if the trends continue, we will have more than mood swings to worry about. We will lose jobs to other nations and become a consumer country and no longer an innovative country.

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