A large majority of high school students say their class work is not very difficult, and almost two-thirds say they would work harder if courses were more demanding or interesting, according to an online nationwide survey of teenagers conducted by the National Governors Association.
Consider that and then have a listen to this interview with Thomas Friedman, author of the red-hot book “The World Is Flat,” over at NPR’s Science Friday show. Is there any question that we need to be producing the brightest minds possible? And let’s not get sidetracked by lamenting the loss of manufacturing jobs to cheaper labor markets overseas. It’s a done deal. It’s over. Get used to it. Instead, let’s focus on the kind of work that isn’t easily outsourced—the creative, right-brained work that produces innovation. Let’s ask tough questions about what kind of curriculum is needed to produce citizens that can adapt rapidly, use technology effectively, communicate convincingly, cooperate seamlessly, solve problems creatively, and think unconventionally. Somehow I don’t think it looks much like the curriculum we have now.