Doing Something About ‘Brain Drain’

What, me worry?

– Alfred E. Newman – Mad Magazine

– and some people have the audacity to wonder how it is that the United States is in danger of reverting to a third-world pre-scientific  state based on fundamentalist religion.   

Garsh, Mickey, I don’t know!

– Goofy 

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“Brain drain.” It’s cute and catchy and it rhymes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. According to some studies, in fact, fewer than 6 percent of high-school seniors in the U.S. are planning on engineering degrees. A decade ago it was 36 percent. In 2000, 56 percent of the undergraduate degrees in China were in the hard sciences. In the U.S., 1 percent.

Part of the problem, according to many experts, is how science and math education are taught in U.S. schools, ranging from everything to how the material is presented to the teacher’s qualifications. According to the October 2005 National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, about two-thirds of the students studying chemistry and physics in U.S. high schools are taught by teachers without major or certificates in the subject. With math taught in Grades 5-12, its about one-half. And many students are taught math by graduates in physical education.

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