On Feb. 7, 2013, Dr. Ben S. Carson a neurosurgeon and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast to President Obama, vice president, and distinguished guests.
This video of his speech to a bi-partisan group has gone viral. The speech has resulted in various articles, commentaries, and interviews throughout the internet. Dr. Carson covered topics including religion, political correctness, health care, and primary concerns for this nation including education.
Here are some key quotes from his speech regarding education, please feel free to watch the video for the full context.
Things that were important in the development of our nation...one of those things was education. I’m very passionate about education because it’s made such a big difference in my life. But here we are at a time in the world, the information age, the age of technology, and yet 30% of people who enter high school in this country do not graduate. 44% of people who start a four-year college program do not finish it in four years. What is that about?
[In my book you will find] questions extracted from a sixth grade exit exam from the 1800′s, a test you had to pass to get your sixth grade certificate. I doubt most college graduates today could pass that test. We have dumbed things down to that level and the reason that is so dangerous is because the people who founded this Nation said that our system of government was designed for a well-informed and educated populace, and when they become less informed, they become vulnerable. Think about that. That is why education is so vitally important.
I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions. My wife and I started the Carson Scholars Fund 16 years ago after we heard about an international survey looking at the ability of eighth graders in 22 countries to solve math and science problems, and we came out Number 21 out of 22. We only barely beat out Number 22...very concerning."
Reference: Dr. Ben S. Carson, National Prayer Breakfast, Feb. 7, 2013
This is the age of technology and in the past few years there has been an explosion of new mobile devices from phones to tablets. Many of these devices are now entering schools and homes where children gravitate to the simple and elegant touch screens.
However as many have discovered the software, namely apps, are the key differentiator in providing the proper learning tools for our children. Technology is only one factor and if not carefully vetted will distract versus focus the needs of educators. Usability of these gadgets, screen size, data input, supportability, cost and new practices such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are being investigated to help educators.
Literally there has been an explosion of apps for education. Also, each app store has a growing library of apps across various platforms. Software options, whether created locally to be downloaded to a mobile device or hosted in the cloud are only one aspect of education technology today. There are also various online learning options with virtual classrooms giving students the freedom to learn at their own pace.
Finally standards are being adopted across the United States (i.e.: Common Core State Standards). These standards prepare students for college and career providing guidance on Mathematics and English Language Arts.
There is definitely a need and urgent desire to improve education, to build tools that help to engage our children, to help them grow and succeed, to help teachers and parents be more effective in assessing the learning process. There is a perfect storm of gadgets, software, and standards to help grow engineers, scientists, doctors, and future leaders of this nation.
What will maintain our position in the world? The ability to shoot a 25 foot jump shot or the ability to solve a quadratic equation? We need to put the things into proper perspective. - Dr. Ben S. Carson