If you didn’t catch the debut last night of the CNN documentary “Don’t Fail Me”, which tracks three high school students in a national robotics competition, make plans now to watch the rebroadcast.
If you are a parent: Your child’s ability to compete for the best jobs (in an innovation economy where a growing number of companies hire talent where they can find it, whether in Boise or Bangalore) depends upon his or her ability to master higher-level math and science concepts.
And if your state officials are using fuzzy math to calculate student proficiency in your state, then most likely you are not getting an honest accounting of how your kid actually stacks up against kids in other states and other countries.
If you are a high school student: Don’t think math and science are “cool”? Don’t take my word for it. See how three kids your age (guys AND girls) are learning some heavy-duty skills-building robots and pitting them against robots from teams across the country.
If you are a taxpayer: Want to see our nation fall further behind other developed countries? Are you comfortable with the large percentage of U.S. students who drop out each year and are unable to contribute positively to our society and workforce?
Check out the documentary and then let your elected officials know what you think. Call your local school to see how you might be able to contribute.
If a teenager in an inner-city school can successfully advocate for higher-level math classes so that she can get into the college of her choice, just think what you might accomplish in improving outcomes for greater numbers of students. (Watch the documentary and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)
Documentaries such as “Don’t Fail Me” create larger conversations about what we want from our education system, regardless of where we fall on the parent-student-taxpayer continuum. If we don’t engage and allow our voices to be heard we are failing not only the students but our fellow citizens and communities.