THE EDITOR, Sir:
Reading a Gleaner editorial concerning the recent CXC scores, I was reminded of being a Peace Corps volunteer selected to train math teachers in Jamaica more than four decades ago.
My conclusion at that time was that more math teachers were needed, not more teacher trainers. I was also reminded of taking a post as a math teacher for a year in a public high school in a north coast parish some 20 years later, after having taught the subject for a decade in Florida schools.
Finally, I was reminded of working as the computer director of a small, private high school in Kingston in the mid-1990s, just before it closed and was taken over by the Jamaican Government.
Now, as I see by reading such editorials almost two decades later, Jamaica still struggles with mathematics education, much as does its much larger neighbour, the United States, to the north.
Why, I ask, is it obviously so difficult for educators, analysts and consultants to figure out what's going wrong and what to do about it? I read The Gleaner's proposals as if I was reading the local grocery store's shopping list. Some of its ideas are simply failed US ideas, decades old.
Do I know the answer? Of all people, I should, but all I can do for the moment is suggest that before we obviously go on wasting so much time and effort trying to solve the problem, someone figure out why students aren't learning the mathematics skills and understanding we are trying to teach them.
It might be a good place to start.