Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
This is a wonderful time to reinvent our educational system to better meet the challenges we face in our future. At the high school level we can begin to engage young minds to problem-solve topics like global warming and pandemic response options. We can brainstorm ideas of how to address reduction of job availability due to the automation of everything from taking orders at fast food restaurants to the manufacture of automobiles. We can problem-solve meeting the needs of a growing number of homeless families caused by the collapse of our current economy. We can learn from the study of how similar difficulties were addressed throughout history and explore the application of practical math skills needed to understand these problems. (The governor of Alabama is a mathematician who used his math skills to help understand the number of confirmed cases and actual deaths that would be required to get "herd immunity." Math helps us understand many things.) We can engage in “real life” activities addressing our impact on global issues. It is an exciting time to explore new ideas, build inspired success while looking to a better future, rather than merely looking in our rear-view mirror and repeating the actions of past generations through preprogramed computers. These are all too often methods that no longer apply to our now.
Then I was hit with reality when a former colleague told me our high school district was discussing via Skype how to provide “seat time” for teenagers at home. I think if we are focusing on how we can force students to warm chairs with their rear ends, we are doomed.
Yvonne Esther Johnson