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Reality Check 2006: Are parents and students ready for more math and science?


"Business and political leaders, worried that U.S. schools aren't challenging enough, are launching major campaigns to improve math and science education. But when it comes to math and science education, parents and students think things are just fine, thank you.

The first of a series of Reality Check reports finds that while parents generally support proposals to make high schools globally competitive, parents start from a different mindset than leaders. In fact, parents' concern about math and science achievement has actually declined since the mid 1990s. Most parents also say the material their children are learning is more challenging than the lessons they had to learn in school.

American students aren't too worried either. Only one quarter say lack of emphasis on science and math is a problem in their own school. Despite concerns that young women are less likely to pursue math and science, we found no significant differences between the attitudes of high school girls and boys. But we found striking differences between whites and minority students, with minorities much more likely to say they're not getting enough math and science in their school and to consider it essential for future success."