Arguing "It's Not Just Math and Science," they contend that "China's Present is Not the Future We are Fighting For"
WASHINGTON and NEWARK, N.J., March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a New Jersey Star-Ledger article, "Study of Humanities A Key to U.S. Economic Success," Clinton White House spokesman Robert Weiner and senior policy analyst Jaime Ravenet call on President Obama to include humanities, such as English, history, government and philosophy, in the administration's teacher expansion plan that currently expands math and science teachers. They assert, "It's not just math and science; we need humanities teachers too."
"The humanities impart skills that are critical to success in business and government, at home and in the worldwide arena." Weiner and Ravenet assert, "It seems the nation has forgotten the importance of practical writing skills such as memo writing, argument analysis and simple, well-reasoned dialogue."
"American students will only be competitive if better science and math education is coupled with a strong foundation in the humanities. We need writing skills." They say, "If someone wants to change things, whether in a company or the nation, he or she must be able to cogently and succinctly grab the audience's attention and explain what is going on."
To make their point, they say, "One need only look at companies like Apple and Facebook, among the most successful companies in history, to understand the importance of having a strong Humanities education."
"If we are ever going to retake our place as global education leaders," they contend, "we must acknowledge that focusing only on science and math education is bad policy. We need the skills taught by humanities disciplines to seal the deal. Clear analysis and synthesis of information are as important to our future as science and math."
Pointing out that "Steve Jobs' amazing and persuasive speeches we all saw re-run after he died were not math formulas; they were verbal masterpieces," they say that "Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is giving $100 million in grants to teachers with innovative plans for education, but he isn't limiting the grants to science and math teachers," a reference to several recent Newark area teachers who have won Facebook money to "establish an 'inquiry-based social justice system.'" In addition, "Special Education teacher Janet Mino has established a curriculum that helps non-verbal autistic students learn communication skills with iPads."
They concede that "in an increasingly tech-driven global economy, bolstering American students' science and math proficiency definitely increases our chance to stay competitive," but point to China's lack of innovation: "China would likely not have given the world a Facebook or an Apple because innovating, which means engaging in the generative process of creating new applications and new technologies, is not what drives China."
Weiner and Ravenet conclude with a grim reminder: "If China's present is the future we are fighting for, then by all means ignore the role of a robust education in the Humanities. But this omission will not restore America's pre-eminence. America will continue to fall behind unless the humanities get their 100,000 teachers, too."
Link to Star-Ledger original in Opinion section: http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2012/03/study_of_humanities_key_to_us.html
Contacts: Bob Weiner/Richard Mann 301-283-0821 cell 202-306-1200 [email protected]
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates