>Thank you, Robert, for posing this extremely important >question. I'm a high school math teacher who has been >wondering the same thing for many, many years.
The only thing that is not clear is why Robert and others keep asking the question. The answer is staring us in the face. One has only to compare Jo Boaler to Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion as one good example, to grok the institution of education as it currently exists in the U.S.
Of course, if Jo Boaler were an aberration, the discussion would be entirely different. But, she is not and it is not, and it is has been this way for several generations. How could it be simpler and clearer? There are no scientific standards in education research because education research is not science.
That education is not science is incontrovertible. It remains only to work out what it is. I do not claim to have the authoritative answer, but until somebody can propose a better one, my working hypothesis is that education is social engineering. Less gently, it is ideology. Or, as our own Wayne Bishop puts it, it is religion.
That this one group of ideologues completely dominates the institution of public education is politics. The Education Mafia is enormously powerful politically and they have many sympathizers.
That is the long and the short of it. What, if anything, the rest of us can do about it is not so clear and needs to be discussed. What is abundantly clear to me is that, at least at this moment in our historical development, any kind of direct confrontation with the Education Mafia will fail.
And yet, I am not a pessimist. I think there are potentially effective alternatives to a crusade against the Education Mafia. But, until people like Robert, Wayne, and Greg finally abandon hope http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/abandon-hope-all-ye-who-enter-here.html of reforming the Education Mafia there is no use in exploring those alternatives. I think Wayne is coming around to my point of view. As one of the walking wounded in the California Front of The Math Wars, Wayne learned his lesson the hard way.
And that, in sum, informs most of my efforts in this forum. I am trying, to the best of my meager abilities, to persuade our comrades in this forum that reform is impossible and that we have to explore alternatives.
Robert himself is an optimist of a sort. He expects an end to the current educational regime, but he expects this end to come in the form of a collapse. This is a distinct possibility. I would like to avoid this collapse. To paraphrase Gil Scott-Heron, the collapse will not be televised. We will live this collapse, and we are not going to like it.
In the modern parlance of Wall Street, Big Education is TBTG: To Big To Fail. Education is a very large, very important, and deeply rooted element of our society. If education collapses, it will take a lot of our society down with it. A lot of people are going to get hurt, and it will take us a long time, if ever, to put the pieces back together.
What I frankly believe is that one major part of this problem is that Americans have been too fat and happy, too safe and comfortable, for too long. Most Americans do not know how bad it can get. Oh, they see the images on TV of refugees in Syria and demonstrations in Greece but, for Americans, there is an unreality to them. It is hard to distinguish those images from "The Price Is Right" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_price_is_right For this reason, and maybe others, Americans are far too complacent about the impending educational collapse. In the words of Aragorn to Frodo, we "are not nearly frightened enough."