Failure of U.S. Public Secondary Schools in Mathematics

Nov 24, 2011 by

by Michael Marder – Poverty is a More Important Cause than Teacher Quality

The loss of Yoke Peter and Yoke Yoke presented a problem of unprecedented difficulty, the solution of which was clearly of the greatest importance to the future, not only of the Comet, but also of Civil Air Transport in this country and, indeed, throughout the world. Lord Cohen, Civil Aircraft Accident, Report of the Court of Inquiry, 1955

The Problem

Many say the US public school system is broken, its failure is an ongoing disaster for our students and country. Once when systems of great consequence failed, the accidents were investigated with all needed resources, causes identified, mechanisms understood, solutions devised tested and implemented. I have been studying aircraft accidents that took place at the birth of jet aviation. Mistaken concepts employed by British engineers, and an illusion that confident public pronouncements could substitute for sound science helped move world leadership from the United Kingdom to the United States. The path the British followed to disaster bears an unsettling resemblance to the path the US now follows to reform our schools.

The Comet

Britain was set to dominate the jet age. In 1952, the de Havillands Comet began commercial service, triumphantly connecting London with the farthest reaches of the Empire. The jet plane was years ahead of any competitor, gorgeous to look at, and set new standards for comfort and quiet in the air. Then things went horribly wrong.

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