The United States has been ranked 37th of 79 industrialized countries in math achievement among 15-year-olds. Among the states, California is considerably below average, and sometimes in the lowest quartile, in several national assessments of math proficiency.

sue lempert

Critics argue that new proposals to make math accessible to more kids will widen the privilege gap, and end up shutting out students of color (The New Yorker). Meanwhile the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has reported that China is way ahead of the United States in developing advanced weapons. The United States used to have the edge in scientific development. What’s happened?

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(4) comments

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Ms. Lempert,

The truth shall set you free. Good for you! Your assessment that well intentioned folks continually insult people like me is not unfounded. As an aside, when I a teen back in the sixties, my parents exiled me to Nicaragua for a year. I was floored by the intense and advanced scholastic instruction children in secondary education received. Particularly in math. The difference, as I saw it, was that it was expected of children that they meet expectations and perform. And in that culture, parents were revered and not to be disappointed. Methinks coddling misbehavior and poor performance I get more of it. But hey, I don't have a degree in anything.


Thanks, Sue. About time someone said this. That quote from the Joint Chiefs of Staff is chilling. We should give serious thought to choice in education.

Dirk van Ulden

Sue - a great column. I hope our educators are paying attention. Thank you.

Terence Y

Sue? Sue Lempert? Is this really you? Surprisingly, we’ve found common ground in that blocking the path to advanced math is a terrible idea and does nothing to help students in their future endeavors. Also, I can only wish Biden could become someone we could all admire if he strove to keep our country together instead of dividing it – basically, trying to Make America Great Again.

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