Skip to comments.Why Americans Can't Do Arithmetic
Posted on 04/23/2010 12:22:15 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
What follows is just a short review of a book nobody would think of reading, a paperback published in 1964 to help parents understand New Math. But if you've been wondering how our Education Establishment has managed to sabotage math skills in this country, this review will be helpful:----------------
"New Math was one of the silliest, most pretentious, and finally most unsuccessful educational gimmicks ever devised; and this book perfectly captures the idiocy of it all. In fairness, the authors were trying to do a good job but their mission is to explain the preposterous.
Prefatory copy in this book "For Teachers and Parents of Elementary School Children" brags: "Rudimentary ideas of geometric shapes are currently being introduced in kindergarten. Children in elementary school are being taught integers, coordinates, rational numbers -- bodies of knowledge formerly reserved for junior high or high school."
According to Wikipedia, "Other topics introduced in the New Math include modular arithmetic, algebraic inequalities, matrices, symbolic logic, Boolean algebra and abstract algebra."
On page 13 the authors boast, "The language and ideas of sets are begun in kindergarten and carried through all further study of mathematics as a unifying thread."
A few pages later we learn that "Principles of numeration cannot be developed effectively if confusion exists regarding the terms `number' and `numeral.' They are not synonymous. A number is a concept, an abstraction. A numeral is a symbol, a name for a number."
Another lovely quote notes: "Geometry is not presented in its classic form in the elementary grades. The child is merely given a working introduction to the study of points, lines, and shapes and their relationships. More formal work begins in the fourth grade."
Every page bristles with charts, graphs and columns of numbers that would try the understanding of the typical college freshman. And you must deal with prose such as: "Addition is an operation on two addends to produce a result called the sum. Subtraction is an operation for finding an unknown addend if the sum and one addend are known."
There are pages in this book that remind me of a college course I took (and barely passed) on symbolic logic. The authors are eager to tell us how to count on base seven, base six, base three, and base four.
Charlotte Iserbyt in her wonderful book "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" relates an anecdote about a math teacher who was inadvertently invited to a meeting of progressive educators trying to devise a curriculum to keep children from mastering math. The working title for this abomination was Modern Math. This meeting was all the way back in 1928! So it's clear that New Math was in development for a long time.
The reason this book is important to me is that I believe that just as Modern Math was a precursor to New Math, so was New Math itself a precursor to everything we now call Reform Math. The educators went back into their laboratories and devised more subtle variations of this flop, which they introduced to the public in the 1980s. I believe the sophistry remains the same up to the present: stir in advanced concepts with simple concepts so that children never master even basic arithmetic.
You can just imagine these crazy old progressives around a table in the faculty lounge laughing like hyenas as they craft such points as: "To compare rational numbers named by fractions whose numerators are 1, look at the denominators. The greater the number represented by the denominator, the smaller the rational number."
That's the entire Amazon review. For more on this topic, Google "36: The Assault on Math."
It sounds as though the liberals’, “There Is No Wrong Answer” Math system isn’t working out. LOL!
Thats the truth.
They do not want the kids to learn too quickly, they’d all be out of cushy jobs.
The “new” math came out for us in the late 60s, early 70s in florida. It’s why I can barely add 2 + 2 and get 5.
It would disqualify them from government jobs and those are the only ones being created.
“A 3 letter word, J-O-B-S!” - VP Joe Biden
“It is wonderful to be back in Oregon,” Obama said. “Over the last 15 months, weve traveled to every corner of the United States. Ive now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.” - President Barack Obama
New Math was mostly the result of dumbed down teachers, who didn’t know HOW to teach.
They wanted a shortcut. A ‘new’ and ‘easier’ way to do math.
Sorry, there is only one way.
Maybe Biden was misquoted?
Jobs is a FREE-letter word.
Math be “acting white”.
I did extremely poorly in high school math and was able to weasel my way out of it as an undergraduate in college. I am an arithmetical whiz, however, and at age 67 still regularly beat the cash register in figuring out my change from a $10.
Only one way?
There are three kinds of people: Those who can do math and those who can’t.
A kid educated in the 1930’s to the 8th grade level is smater than 90% of all High School Graduates today when it comes to the Math, History, English, and Science.
Sad to say but true.
When I read this, I can’t figure out (no pun intended) whether the problem is Math or English.
“Thats the truth.
They do not want the kids to learn too quickly, theyd all be out of cushy jobs. “
Indeed, those who do have wickedly good math skills usually have to re-process the information in the book to come to our own methods of doing it. We had to perform internal translations of the material in question in order for us to make sense of it. I did the best to help my fellow students but most of them just had glazed over eyes.
Like seventy-eleventy-kabillion jobs were created or saved just last week.... and 0Care is deficit neutral.
Old Math Ping
Wow. I remember that from the mid 1970s. There was an obsession with the difference between the numerals and numbers, which really wasn't appropriate for 2nd and 3rd graders. Similary, there was waaaaay too much set theory which we spent weeks on, which could be cranked out in a couple of days in high school but little kids just aren't ready for it.
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