High falutin' sound bites look great. When you actually look at what that particular string of words means, though, it makes about as much sense as the NCLB's goal of having all students "reach high standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading/language arts and mathematics" by 2014."
(I will pause a moment to let you re-read Obama's statement.)
Meanwhile, the Amish are kicking butt in the world of small business. The New York Times noted today that "despite a lack of even a high school education (the Amish leave school after the eighth grade), hundreds of Amish entrepreneurs have built profitable businesses based on the Amish values of high quality, integrity and hard work"
Ah, I get it--if you want to work for someone else, you need high level skills. If you want to work for yourself, maybe knowing the intricacies of quadratic equations is not essential.
A 2004 Goshen College study reported that the failure rate of Amish businesses is less than 5 percent, compared with a national small-business default rate that is far higher. (According to a federal study, only two-thirds of all small-business start-ups survive the first two years and fewer than half make it to four years.)
Of course, the Amish cheat. They do not farm their elderly to nursing homes, the church covers their health costs, and they are exempt from Social Security.
Meanwhile, the English here back east in Jersey are expecting our children to master "all types of equations using graphing, computer, and graphing calculator techniques." [Emphasis mine.]
All is a big word. But I guess if each child is to be able to compete with any worker for any job in the world, they will just have to know everything.
Never know when you might need to whip out a quadratic equation--don't want to be bested by some child in Kurdistan.
In the meantime, the Yoder, Klopfenstein, and Stutzman clans will develop the small businesses that will employ the worldly children who can spin quadratic equations on the head of a pin, but who would starve to death if left on their own with 40 acres, a mule, and a decent water supply.