Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs
Bart Simpson and Chuck Berry sing School Day.
Practical math? What a silly idea, trying to teach kids something most of them will use later in life. Much better to get them started on the program that leads eventually to a math major in college. That has four great pluses.
One, some small fraction of young people will actually use such math later in life.
Two, many more won’t use it but will have to pass abstract math classes to get the credentials that are needed to get a large number of good jobs.
Three, those who don’t do well will feel like failures and will accept that they don’t deserve economic success. “Of course I can’t get a good job; I didn’t do well in school.”
Four, it provides teaching jobs for people who did do well at math in school. Those are the sorts of people who do deserve economic success.
No doubt this comment is mean-spirited and unfair. Very few people consciously intend three. But though it is hardly anyone’s intent, it is the result. And it is terrible.
Sometimes, it’s even worse. Starting with this year’s incoming sophomores, SD will require not only the pre-existing algebra 1, geometry and biology, but algebra 2, chem and physics for all HS graduates. Insanity. It’s not as if the current HS grads working retail have any grasp of practical math.
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