America has become a place where the young are given too many easy breaks; one glaring issue that I think needs to be addressed is a lack of education in the sciences among the general populace. There are many nations where students are expected to have completed courses in calculus and chemistry prior to reaching high school age. Instead of valuing the knowledge that drives industries that propelled America to the top of the food chain in the international marketplace of ideas, we throw fits when a company even dares to make advertisements that suggest an education in the sciences will provide a more stable income than one in the arts. We continue to slip further and further behind places like Germany, Japan and South Korea in fields involving engineering, mathematics and the like.
The road to becoming more successful in encouraging the skillful application of math and science starts early and requires a foundation formed while people are most capable of retaining information. Mathematics is much like a language, with conventions, structure, and rules that necessitate the proper groundwork is done if one is to ever become truly proficient. I personally got my start in mathematics in preschool, and by the time I was in first grade my father had taught me multiplication and division. It is possible to do, even for families where parents are working long hours it only takes an hour a day to have a huge impact on the course of a child’s lifetime.We as a country need to make an initiative and sound the clarion call that the hard sciences are as important as any other aspect of education.
Motivate, inspire and assist families so that they have the tools they need to successfully help their children have the best chance of success as they approach such subjects. Part of the struggle will be that the parents themselves are not well versed, having been raised in a similar situation, where things like the scientific method were rarely discussed. There are many abstract concepts that become infinitely easier to grasp if one takes the time, but that time has to be partitioned intentionally in the busy schedules that pervade modern life.It is imperative that the time is taken, though, or we may soon find ourselves playing a never-ending game of catch up.