For years I have been arguing that one of the major impediments to reform in science education has been one of Crisis addiction. When what is put forth as a dangerous national crisis—Sputnik, e.g.—that can be blamed in good measure on K-12 education failures, reform gets underway. For a while. Then the crisis disappears or forgotten or replaced by some other national crises, and reform tails off.

And then the next crisis shows up, reform flourishes, reform fades, new crisis, new reform, and on and on spasmodically. Sadly, in this fandango, there is little memory. When the newest reform movement gets underway, it is as though we had learned nothing from the previous one. New people, new ideas, new funding, new activities, everything de novo. However momentarily popular, all are doomed to eventual obscurity.

We seem unable to design and carry out a long-term reform plan, sticking with it for the two or three decades it would take to recreate the system. A steady, focused effort is what is needed, a cross-country race, not a 100 yard dash.

But I’ve said all of that before (my Brandwine Lecture, for instance). So let me turn to another author, one who has a quite different to make the point about Crisis Addiction. His name is Allen Jay Dennison, apparently, and he is assembling his recommendations in a book underway called The Fandangle Way: Six Astonishingly Easy Steps for Losing Weight, Saving Social Security, and Reforming Education.

As it happens, his first step is entitled, “Adopt a Crisis.”

The Table of Contents follows with current links. The author has promised to complete writing the other vital reform steps any day now.

  • Title Page
  • About the Author
  • Author’s Other Works
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Full Disclosure
  • Step 1: Adopt a Crisis
    • The Laika Crisis
    • The Rising Tide Crisis
    • The Ohms Law Crisis
    • The Crisis Outlook
  • Step 2  Seize the High Ground
    • Point the Finger of Blame Sternly!
    • Sprout Wings!
  • Step 3  Get Tough
    • Dichotomize!
    • Add More Straw—But No More Camels!
    • Demand Results Now!
  • Step 4  Sell Salvation
    • Look Backward Fondly!
    • Bet On Magic!
    • Board a Bandwagon!
    • Think Local!
  • Step 5 Talk the Talk
    • Embrace Jargon!
    • Dote on Anecdotes!
  • Step 6  Declare Victory
    • Quote Right-Thinking Experts!
    • Cite Selected Research!
    • Adopt a New Crisis!
  • Resources
    • Fandangle: The Movie
  • Glossary