to the editor from this week's Chronicle:
No. 165 - 6/18/2018
Last week's RNR closed with "Those who do not learn from mistakes
of the past, are doomed to repeat them." This week we cite a slightly
different comment: "You have to know the past, to understand the present,
to predict the future!"
So, with it in mind, the following is taken in part from an article
written in 1983 as one of many submitted at the time entitled LET
FREEDOM RING. It might be of interest to readers today to note the changes
which have occurred in the last 35 plus years!
"Last week we took a quick look at new course requirements planned
by the state of Idaho. This week we find the federal government getting
into the act. The March 3rd Lewiston Tribune carried an article on future
federal involvement under the heading: 'The House Endorses Intensified
Training in Math and Science,' and, warned of a crisis in math and science,
passed a five year $1.1 billion bill, aimed at giving industry and the
military the brains to compete.
"Sponsors cited severe teacher shortages, declining achievement
and fewer graduating scientists. The 'Math and Science bill tackles a grave
problem that threatens our very competitiveness in world markets, weakens
our industrial base and undermines defense' said one sponsor, while another
commented: 'The United States is embarked on an era where high technology
is a byword, and the nation is ill equipped to handle the revolution.'
"Adversely it was noted that the legislation exceeds President Reagan's
budget, as did a six-year $1.9 billion jobs bill also passed last week.
One opponent commented on the budget-busting legislation: 'It is the height
of irresponsibility to create a new $400 million program in the face of
a $200 billion deficit." (Hmm! What about our near $trillion deficit?)
"Frankly, I don't like it. Crisis there may be.... but
if so, it seems the problem needs to be tackled at the grassroots level...The
issue is, are we locally providing the opportunity to develop our native
talent? Is it bringing out the best in our children? I suggest the problems
in math and science can be traced to other 'crash'...programs from the
"Over the years federal moneys have been given in other 'crash' programs
to remedy lack of reading programs, shortages in classroom space, update
'desperately' needed vocational classes, provide more nourishing lunches,
help the low achiever... and on and on. It seems to me that the common
denominator of all these programs is the cost and the 'crash!'
"The entire matter becomes more comical when one sees the 'yoyo' effect
of such programs. Each time a concern reaches a peak, we throw tons of
federal money at it, then it recedes from our attention, and we look
for new problems to solve. Meanwhile, we are bankrupting ourselves as a
nation, creating mountains of waste, and we are whip sawing energy
and resources from one area to another. And as a nation, we still
pay some of us as much to do nothing, as we pay others who work long and
"Yes, let Uncle Sam spend our way to increased math/science teachers
today. Then maybe each of us will get our own problems spent away tomorrow!"
(Does this 35 year old article tell us anything about conditions today,
and help us predict what might happen tomorrow?)
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