The implications of CT content, process, and tools for education of all children are dramatic. A specific focus would be the population of students today classified as "special education" students under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - PL94-142). This includes approximately 10 percent of the entire age 3-17 cohort in the United States, or almost five and a half million children in the 6-21 year age bracket. More than one million of these children are diagnosed with speech or language impairment; 2.8 million with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia; 600,000 with mental retardation; 50,000 with autism; and 450,000 with emotional disturbance.

In K-12 education, school district visions commonly aspire to educate all children to their full potential. The reality has been that many children are not educated to a level that allows them to be productive members of their adult society, let alone to their own full potential. While there is some differentiation of instruction and curriculum strands (such as special education, governor's schools, alternative education, and reading and hearing resource education), the ability to diagnose individual student needs is based on failure of a child to succeed in a "standard" early curriculum. It is only after such a failure that analysis begins with the possibility of a placement into one of several available alternative strands. These strands again treat a bulk condition identified empirically from phenotypic behaviors rather than treating an individual condition analyzed from the child's genotype. Individualization or fine-tuning of treatment is accomplished through labor-intensive one-on-one teaching. Our new vision, supported by convergent technologies, anticipates a future in which today's failures to successfully educate all children are mitigated through a fundamental physical understanding and modeling of cognitive and biological capabilities and processes in the young child. Appropriate mitigation and direction are based on early anticipation of the child's individual needs rather than bulk treatment after early failures.

The Glenn Commission (National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, Glenn 2000) estimated that the cost of meeting its three goals of improving science teaching quality with the current teachers, developing more science and math teachers, and improving the science and math teaching environment would cost approximately $5 billion in the first year. Roughly, this money would be used to provide teacher summer institutes, leadership training, incentives, scholarships, assessments, and coordination. Since this is aimed at all science and math teachers over a five-year program (there are 1.5 million science and math teachers for grades K-12 in the United States), CT could take early advantage of any implementation of a plan such as that proposed by the Glenn Commission.

Revisions in curriculum standards seem to take about five to ten years to develop, absent a major sea change in what is being taught. CT is a major change, and it further moves curriculum to stay current with scientific and technological advances. This will require regularly occurring curriculum reviews at the state level and the ability to adjust content and assessment with a factor of ten more efficiency than is done today. As a guide to the states, a national curriculum must also be reviewed and updated in a similarly regular way.


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