External Factors Forcing Change on
Education: How can they work for us?
I am very pleased with the opportunity to make some remarks at this
second National Conference on Science and Mathematics Education Reform.
Every participant here this morning is committed to change; each of you
understands the need for systemic reform; and each of you has a genuine
desire to help America and its children grow in intellectual achievement.
I can only admi re your efforts and urge you to persevere with your
difficult task. Despite my disadvantage in knowing a lot less about
education than anyone in this room, I hope that I can offer some small
contribution to your deliberations.
My knowledge has been improved recently by the opportunity to visit
tw o schools from my own congressional district that are part of the
California Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI), called the California
Advocacy for Mathematics and Science or CAMS.
I will comment on some of
the things I observed on that visit later in my remarks.
However, I would like to focus my remarks largely on some of the
external factors that are forcing changes on education. I have therefore
titled my comments, External Factors Forcing Change on Education: How can
they work for us? First, however, I would ask you to reflect for a
moment on the term "educational reform." This term is so common in our
discourse that it has become "mental boilerplate." If, however, we pause
to consider each word for its genuine meaning, I believe we can discover a
guiding principle for our work.
Education means drawing out of you what is already in there, not
merely instilling something new. Thus our task must be driven by the
recognition that each person comes to education with potential drawn from
his or her...