Wednesday, October 18

Quit Stalin and Show Us Your Marx

An interesting study is on CNN today. It indicates that when it comes to math

happiness is overrated, says study author Tom Loveless.

(that's the direct quote, I swear)

In a nut shell, the United States is producing tons of students that feel good about math but can't actually do it.

Hopefully this is the start of showing that making kids happy instead of actually teaching them things in school is the wrong way to go about educating. Of course, it is good in moderation, in fact the best teachers find the right dose. But public education in general needs to take its focus off not damaging fragile little people's self image and actually teach stuff. It's come to the point where some teachers grade papers in purple instead of red, hoping not to hurt feelings.

In the 15 years since I embarked down the long and winding road known as public education, I've seen math go down the tubes. For instance, in 3rd grade we had to do multiplication tests every week and there was one clear winner. (Some little kids sports, like soccer, don't even keep score anymore.) By the time my siblings were in school, the schools had phased in new flashy color textbooks full of what I like to call "communist math". In reality, it was "Chicago something-or-other math". But kids were nearly able to get away with saying 2 + 2 = 5. As long as they feel good about themselves!

Instead of teaching kids the foundations of math to build upon in the future, they showed kids how to use calculators instead and confused the crap out of them by randomly "introducing" advanced concepts, like variables, in grade school. In a normal college, granted they've made it to one, calculators aren't allowed in math! How will they integrate when they can't multiply? How are they going to go to the store and guestimate how much they'll spend or do everyday estimations as adults?

In high school, I learned the most in the classes that graded the hardest. For example, in an English class where the teacher wasn't afraid to give low grades, the possibility of getting low grades and the potential to get a good one motivated me to read the books, try harder, and seek out strategies to make myself a better writer or else I had to convince myself that the big red 'F' stood for 'Fay'.

No comments: