Math Wars

Menstuff® has information on "Math Wars" and the state of education in the U.S.
With American 15-year-olds ranking 24th in a recent world math skills survey, a debate is raging between a traditional teaching approach and newer methods. This seems to be in reaction to Bob Compton's new film, Two Million Minutes .


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Breakthrough Documentary on Global Education Completed
ED in ’08 Partners with Documentary Filmmakers to Sound the Alarm about the Education Crisis in America
Searing and Insightful: Bob Compton’s Thoughts on Harvard Grad School Response to Two Million Minutes
What Presidential Candidates aren’t saying about education – it’s worse than we thought

What Presidential Candidates aren’t saying about education – it’s worse than we thought


A thought-provoking new education documentary film Two Million Minutes was exclusively screened on Thursday, December 13, 2007 at the Varsity Theatre in Des Moines.

Produced by entrepreneur and venture capitalist Bob Compton, the film examines education in the United States as it compares to global standards. Regardless of nationality, once children exit the eighth grade – the clock starts ticking. They have roughly Two Million Minutes to build their intellectual foundation and prepare for college and career.

The film compares educational standards in the United States with those in India and China by following two students from each of these countries and interviewing them – as well as members of their families – about the priorities in their lives during their senior year in high school. The film is intended to spark discussions and dialogue about American education. How do Americans compare on a global scale? Twenty months in the making, Two Million Minutes highlights the various pressures and priorities of these students and their families, providing insight into the changing nature of competition in the knowledge economy.

“As one of the Presidential Primary States, Iowa is a critical location in which to screen Two Million Minutes,” said Executive Producer Bob Compton. The film is of great importance for the 2008 Presidential campaigns, the traditional media and the voting public.”

Compton teamed up with two former teachers-turned-filmmakers to produce the documentary. Chad Heeter and Adam Raney – both graduates of UC Berkeley’s journalism school with expertise in foreign reporting – traveled to Shanghai, Bangalore and across the U.S., taking cameras into classrooms to bring Compton’s vision to the screen.

The filmmakers have also tapped a world-class panel of experts who elaborate on the differences in education among the countries and discuss implications for America. Among those interviewed are Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Vivek Paul, former CEO of WiPro technologies of India; Tim Draper, Managing Director of Silicon Valley venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Vivien Stewart, Chinese Education Specialist at the Asia Society; Richard Freeman, a Harvard University economist; and Vivek Wadhwa, Executive-in-Residence at Duke University and Wertheim Fellow, Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

“The people who are potentially losing their competitive edge are Americans," says Robert Reich in the film, former U.S. Secretary of Labor.

The screening on December 13th will be held at the Varsity Theatre in Des Moines at 7:30pm. Iowa will be the first primary state to see the film. Future screenings will take place around the country in the coming months.

Two Million Minutes has recently partnered with Strong American Schools’ ED in ’08, a national, nonpartisan campaign supported by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation promoting sound education policies for all Americans. For more information or to view a trailer of the film, please visit www.2mminutes.com/index.html.

For screening information, contact Meg Charlebois at 317-202-2280 ext 11 or E-Mail

Breakthrough Documentary on Global Education Completed


Broken Pencil Productions announces the completion of its breakthrough documentary, Two Million Minutes A Global Examination.

Eighteen months in the making, the film chronicles the lives of six high school students in three countries around the world. The United States, India and China. Observing the various pressures and priorities of these students, their schools and their families provides insight into the changing nature of competition in the knowledge economy.

Supplementing the view from the students perspectives is a world-class group of experts who elaborate on the differences in education among the countries and discuss implications for America.

Interviewees include Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Congressman Bart Gordon, (D-TN), U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, Vivek Paul, former CEO of WiPro technologies of India, Tim Draper, Managing Director of Silicon Valley venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Vivien Stewart, Chinese Education Specialist at the Asia Society, Richard Freeman, a Harvard University economist and Vivek Wadhwa - Executive-in-Residence at Duke University.

The Two Million Minutes documentary was conceived by Executive Producer Robert A. Compton while he traveled throughout India and Southeast Asia in 2005 and 2006. Compton, a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and Harvard MBA, saw dramatic differences in the educational attitudes and experiences between cultures.

Joining Compton on the film project as Directors and Editors were veteran journalists and film makers Chad Heeter and Adam Raney. Both Heeter and Raney have traveled extensively, been members of Teach for America and had directed documentary short films around the world. They hold Master’s degrees in Journalism and Latin American Studies from UC Berkley.

Scenes from Two Million Minutes - a title that alludes to the amount of time high school students have to build their intellectual foundation and prepare for college and careers - was shown as a work-in-progress at the Broad Seminar on Education for a Global Economy in Washington on September 9, 2007.

International education and business experts attended the seminar, organized by the Hechinger Institute at Teachers College at Columbia University.

The hour-long documentary explores how each culture’s educational priorities and norms are adopted and accepted by schools, family and the students. The stark differences in attitude, effort and priorities of these students - high school experiences offer important clues to the future of economic competition in the 21st century.

The seminar on September 9, 2007, initiated the launch of a grassroots, countrywide schedule of screenings, seminars and conversations on Two Million Minutes and the need for American leaders, educators, parents and students to be cognizant of the global intellectual competition rising around them.

Further press releases and updates on screenings, discussions and seminars will be posted at www.2mminutes.com
Source: 2mminutes.com/pressblog.html

ED in ’08 Partners with Documentary Filmmakers to Sound the Alarm about the Education Crisis in America


On the eve of the release of the results from a major international assessment that compares students in 57 countries, Strong American Schools’ ED in ’08 national, nonpartisan campaign announced today it will partner with Broken Pencil Productions to highlight the film Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination. The documentary tracks students from India, China and the United States as they are completing their high school degrees and competing for entrance into competitive universities.

“This film is a wake up call for America,” said Executive Director of ED in ’08 Marc Lampkin. “It exposes an educational system entrenched in mediocrity and causing us to lose the educational arms race. It is a crisis that must be addressed by leadership at all levels, and the presidential candidates must show the courage to rise above special interests and ideological obstacles to provide American students with the education they deserve.”

”The simple fact is, global education standards have passed America by,” stated Robert A. Compton, Executive Producer of the film. “When it was Finland who was winning, it wasn’t such a concern. But now that our K-12 students are being outperformed academically by China and India – the two highest populated countries in the world with the fastest growing economies and with cultures that embrace intellectual challenge – it is cause for serious concern.”

“Most worrisome,” Compton added, “is that few Americans are even aware that India and China, with a combined 2.3 billion people, have over 400 million students in K-12 education compared to our 53 million. Our knowledge of these two cultures is seriously out of date and that has to change…fast. Our economic future depends on it.”

The Strong American Schools’ ED in ’08 campaign is a nonpartisan movement supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and calls on all presidential candidates to improve America’s public schools.

To join the ED in '08 campaign, or for more information, visit www.EDin08.com. To view a trailer of the film Two Million Minutes or to purchase a copy of the film on DVD, go to: www.2Mminutes.com.

Broken Pencil Productions (BPP) is a film production company that is focused on developing and producing documentaries that are primarily educational in nature.

Screenings of the film sponsored by ED in 08 will be held throughout the country starting in January, 2008.

# # # #

Strong American Schools, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is a nonpartisan campaign supported by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation promoting sound education policies for all Americans. SAS does not support or oppose any candidate for public office and does not take positions on legislation.
Source: 2mminutes.com/pressblog3.html

Searing and Insightful: Bob Compton’s Thoughts on Harvard Grad School Response to Two Million Minutes


Bob Compton is frustrated.

He’s shaking his head over the reaction to his documentary, Two Million Minutes, by Harvard graduate students during a recent screening.

Candidly, I don’t think I’ve met a more close-minded and dogmatic bunch of people - except maybe in a religious cult. These students seemed unable to fathom the possibility that students in other countries may be edging out those in the U.S. or that our education system might not offer the best preparation for the high-knowledge, high-wage careers of the 21st century. I kept looking around for the vat of Kool-Aid from which clearly I had not yet drank.

Unburdened by either experience in or knowledge of India and China, these future leaders of American education were able to find enormous and tragic flaws in both Indian and Chinese education — based almost entirely on 57 minutes of film. Some went on to espouse what they viewed as compelling arguments for the current and future superiority of the Great American Education System.

This mindset of superiority and lack of curiosity about education in the two largest countries in the world is both disheartening and frightening to me.

OUCH! And WOW!

Remember, Bob is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist with an MBA from Harvard. He was perhaps expecting this particular crowd of government and education graduate students at his alma mater to be open, familiar with the facts, and ready to consider and discuss the ways in which US education might be improved.

Um, no.

How sad. And yes, scary.

Source: freeagentu.wordpress.com/2007/11/10/searing-and-insightful-bob-comptons-thoughts-on-harvard-grad-school-response-to-two-million-minutes/

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