An early December New York Times op-ed mourned the sad state of STEM education in America and suggested some strategies for positive change.
Recommendations include adoption of a more flexible curriculum, early exposure to numbers, better teacher preparation, and explicit connection between the content in students' textbooks and the knowledge needed in real-world careers.
Slate blogger Konstantin Kakaes took issue with the op-ed, arguing that the Times editorial board does not know what math is. They fail to realize, Kakaes says, that basic mathematics is a prerequisite for studying engineering:
The Times...does lament that too few high school students take engineering classes. Here’s the thing, though: That’s because to do most engineering at a level other than play-acting, you need to already have basic high school math and science mastered. This is like reacting to a study that shows 2-year-olds don’t crawl fast enough by insisting they start running wind-sprints.