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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

October 08, 2012
Don't Reform What Ain't Broken

My current topic of rant is "reform" math which, no matter what I read about it, convinces me that we're currently raising the worst-educated generation of kids in US history.

See this CBS article or even, this American Thinker" article for info. (The political 'tude in the second one is absurd, of course. There is no 'Progressive' or radical left-wing plot to keep kids from learning.) I can't think highly of any system of teaching math that doesn't teach a kid what 10 - 7 =.

Maybe it's rote to memorize multiplication tables, but it's not terminally boring, and no one ever died of having to learn long division.

Also, calculators in second grade? I guess a child is never too young to learn they don't need to use their own brain for anything, are they?*

Okay--I won't go on. I'll just say that I'm glad I'm childless and don't have to worry about any offspring of mine being educated into stupidity.

Ever since I heard about this "reform math, I've been thinking about The Feeling of Power, a thought-provoking short story by Isaac Asimov (found a link here) that suggests we're not smart enough to use math wisely anyhow.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:47 AM


Comments

the problem with education is the fear of segregation by intellect, the segregation would leave a disproportionate number of minnorities in the slower clases and though that would be the case it has to be done in the interest of all, all the recent 30 year studies have clearly shown that blacks are 20 iq points behind caucasians, latinos are some 10 iq points behind, accept fact for fact and move on in life, the forced depreciation of education of those more capable because of the asquied notion that somehow we have to make every one equal to another when in reality what is doing is commiting crimes against those that are being cheated out on their right to a quality of education

Posted by: chris at October 19, 2012 07:36 PM

On the contrary, recent studies have not (necessarily) shown that non-Caucasians are 'naturally' more intelligent. Reputable studies have shown that there are biases built in to IQ tests--and those biases penalize nonwhite individuals.

Moving past that fallacy, I agree that, in the US, there is a pronounced anti-intellectual bias; a tendency to assume that, since intelligence can't be legislated into a democratic average for all, that superior intellect is suspect and probably dangerous. This bias has been introduced into our society by the Right, who have demonstrated a significant pattern, in the last 30 years, of screaming about the danger of electing people smarter than ourselves to political office. (To be fair, the current crop of Republicans didn't invent anti-intellectualism, but they've certainly institutionalized it.)

Posted by: Anne at October 20, 2012 08:41 AM