This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Bill Evers and Ze’ev Wurman, of the Independent Institute, about the challenges of ensuring all students have access to quality K-12 math and science education in California and across the U.S. They review the findings of the 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, and international TIMSS and PISA data going back a decade, as well as recent NAEP results that highlight the ongoing educational crisis, compounded by COVID-related learning loss. They discuss some of the time-tested approaches taken by higher-performing countries such as Israel, and those in East Asia and Europe, to prepare students to succeed in STEM, and how state policymakers can address the gaps so America can become competitive with international peers in STEM fields. They share the findings of Dr. Evers’ Wall Street Journal op-ed about the rise of “woke math” in California, and how we can resist politicizing learning. They conclude with a review of a 2020 Pioneer Institute report that found that less than half of all U.S. high schools offer computer science instruction, and that women and people of color were underrepresented in those classrooms.

Stories of the Week: In Massachusetts, supporters of a proposed progressive tax claim the revenue will increased education spending – but will the measure instead harm the economy and reduce state resources for education investments? A program adopted by 19 colleges across the country is facilitating connections between conservative Christian colleges and liberal institutions to address religious and political polarization.