From the testimony of Manuel P. Berriozabal, professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at San Antonio, before a House Science Committee panel yesterday:
If our people are going to be prepared to function in the mainstream of society and to become future leaders in our increasingly technological society, we must . . . become opponents of the philosophy that makes our children feel good for doing poor or mediocre work.
We must condemn those educational programs and reforms that would substitute the mere acquisition of computer manipulative skills and access to the Internet for intellectual development. We must support programs which stress the acquisition of self-esteem through hard work, commitment and achievement and oppose those that stress the acquisition of self-esteem as an end itself.
Indeed, today some students are being victimized by dangerous educational philosophies which claim to make learning easy and fun. Many years ago, hard work and persistence on the part of our students added up to intellectual empowerment which aided in their acquisition of basic intellectual tools like reading, writing and mathematics and their mastery in everyday applications. Today, with the current education fads, our students can't read. Instead, stories and instructions are given on user-friendly videotapes. They can't write an error-free sentence unless they have access to spell checkers, and they can't do basic computational work unless they have a calculator.