I had the idea that when I went to college, I would major in math. I did well another couple of years. However, in the 7th grade I had a dull older professor who perpetuated the "girls can't do math" myth. Once I had questions, it was decided that I couldn't "do math." I didn't "get it" immediately because I'm a girl. End of math career.
We are a hugely wealthy country, and we can afford to go to Pluto and to educate our children to a much higher standard than we do. In fact, the way we became a hugely wealthy country, and the only way we can maintain our wealth into the future, is by investing in education, science, technology and invention.
Our intentions are good, but we're focusing on the wrong thing, and it's hurting students. If students can flip and multiply, they can pass the test -- the standard sign of academic achievement. Our worry over the achievement gap puts students into narrow contexts of thought full of vast, isolated content and speedy tricks. Unlike the cereal, tricks aren't for kids.