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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Learning math matters

Please "stop talking about so-called learning loss," writes Jo Boaler, a Stanford professor and math reform advocate, on the Hechinger Report.

Math scores are way down: The Education Recovery Scorecard estimates students lost half a year. But Boaler believes it doesn't matter. It's "quite clear" the students gained “knowledge and insights about the world, health challenges, global upheaval, exponential growth, technology, and ways to help their families and navigate complex social situations,” she writes.


This is not clear to me at all. If anything, it's quite clear that many lost the ability to navigate complex -- or even simple -- social situations, and I'm dubious about their knowledge and insights too. Screen time soared. That doesn't mean they're masters of technology. Physical and mental health declined.


Learning math matters, responds Fordham's Nathaniel Grossman. Two decades of growth was "wiped out in just three years," NAEP scores revealed. If we don't do something about learning loss, this generation could be locked out of high-paying STEM careers, he writes. "One Stanford economist estimates that it’ll reduce the lifetime earnings of students by $70,000 and cause a $28 trillion hit to the American economy."

Boaler, who is very influential, "has a history of dismissing the importance of content knowledge and skills for students," writes Grossman.

“We don’t need students to calculate quickly in math,” Boaler declared in a 2015 opinion for the Hechinger Report; “we need students who can ask good questions.” . . . In her 2016 Mathematical Mindsets, Boaler took schools to task for “giving students the impression that math facts are the essence of mathematics” or that the recall of math facts is essential for being a good mathematician.

This is a straw-man argument, writes Grossman. "Very few teachers or schools reduce math to the pure memorization of facts. But those facts are essential to solving complex math problems." Knowing, quickly and automatically, that 5 x 4 = 20 leaves a student's mind free for mathematical thinking and problem solving.

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7 comentarios


obiwandreas
07 mar 2023

A football player will not be called upon to do a push-up or sit-up on the field. A soldier will not be called upon to shoot paper targets in a battle. A dancer will not be called upon to perform stretches on stage. These, however, are prerequisite for building the skills required to do what they are called upon to do. The idea that skills, content knowledge, and basic competency are things that can be isolated instead of deeply interconnected things is the most pernicious faslehood in education.


An early episode of "Agents of Shield" put it best. A new recruit, when finishing a workout, says that she never wants to do another pull-up again. At this point her instruct…

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Invitado
06 mar 2023

Ms Boaler may be comfortable driving over a bridge built by engineers who didn't know math but were good at "asking questions", but I am not. If you want your infrastructure to actually work in the 21st century, there has to be someone in the engineering process who is good at math.


We've gotten to the point where people like Ms Boaler don't even know when math is absolutely necessary -- say at getting clean water to come out of the tap. They just think the physical world is run by some hidden blue-collar *men* drudging around with their knuckles scraping the ground speaking in grunts. People like her probably thought "Metropolis" was a How-To video...

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Invitado
07 mar 2023
Contestando a

A abstract lesson in catastrophic bridge failure, look up:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_International_University_pedestrian_bridge_collapse


No one would have died if they would have closed off the streets around the bridge while work was being done, but as I've said before, you cannot fix stupid

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Invitado
06 mar 2023

How this person got her Ph.D is beyond imagination...she's an idiot

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lady_lessa
08 mar 2023
Contestando a

I'm a chemist and it is a common joke that "Ph.D" means "Piled Higher and Deeper", I'm a "More of the Same" myself. I've noticed since I have worked in industry most of my career, that many chemistry Ph.D's lost or never had common sense.

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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
06 mar 2023

I know a good question - how many seconds in an hour? And if a job runs 30% faster how much time will that save you in your nightly data processing cycle? How long will it take if you double the input volume? It would really help if you get the answer right.

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Invitado
06 mar 2023

Dr. Kevorkian of math education is at it again, justifying monumental drops in math achievement

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