Free Republic Browse · Search General/Chat Topics · Post Article

Why Americans Can't Do Arithmetic
Amazon.com ^ | April 21, 2010 | Bruce Deitrick Price

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."

KEYWORDS: arithmetic; counting; dumbingdownamerica; indoctrination; math; modernmath; newmath; numbers; reeducationcenters; reformmath
first 1-5051-79 next last

1 posted on 04/23/2010 12:22:15 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

It sounds as though the liberals’, “There Is No Wrong Answer” Math system isn’t working out. LOL!

2 posted on 04/23/2010 12:25:23 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Dude! Where's my Constitution!)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Thats the truth.

They do not want the kids to learn too quickly, they’d all be out of cushy jobs.

3 posted on 04/23/2010 12:25:27 PM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com << Get your science fiction and fiction test marketed)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

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.

4 posted on 04/23/2010 12:28:42 PM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

It would disqualify them from government jobs and those are the only ones being created.

5 posted on 04/23/2010 12:32:48 PM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)

To: subterfuge

“A 3 letter word, J-O-B-S!” - VP Joe Biden

6 posted on 04/23/2010 12:35:43 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The hysteria of Matthewsism and Andersonism has led to a Tea Party Scare that is unAmerican.)

To: subterfuge

“It is wonderful to be back in Oregon,” Obama said. “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve 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

7 posted on 04/23/2010 12:36:45 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The hysteria of Matthewsism and Andersonism has led to a Tea Party Scare that is unAmerican.)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

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.

8 posted on 04/23/2010 12:36:46 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)

To: AmishDude

pingaroo

9 posted on 04/23/2010 12:37:07 PM PDT by sabe@q.com (Yes, I'm a SW freak!)

Maybe Biden was misquoted?

Jobs is a FREE-letter word.

10 posted on 04/23/2010 12:37:48 PM PDT by Scrambler Bob (If you could read my mind ... just count up the felonies!)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Math be “acting white”.

11 posted on 04/23/2010 12:37:58 PM PDT by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)

To: TBP; cardinal4

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.

12 posted on 04/23/2010 12:38:51 PM PDT by Ax (Us: "Braveheart." Them: "Runaway Bride.")

To: UCANSEE2

Only one way?

Define “one”

13 posted on 04/23/2010 12:39:04 PM PDT by Scrambler Bob (If you could read my mind ... just count up the felonies!)

There are three kinds of people: Those who can do math and those who can’t.

14 posted on 04/23/2010 12:39:24 PM PDT by edge10 (Obama lied, babies died!)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

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.

15 posted on 04/23/2010 12:41:05 PM PDT by GraceG

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

When I read this, I can’t figure out (no pun intended) whether the problem is Math or English.

16 posted on 04/23/2010 12:42:27 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Build a man a fire; he'll be warm for a night. Set a man on fire; he'll be warm the rest of his life)

To: GeronL

“Thats the truth.

They do not want the kids to learn too quickly, they’d 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.

17 posted on 04/23/2010 12:43:33 PM PDT by GraceG

To: FlingWingFlyer
But look at the great job new math has done for the economy.

Like seventy-eleventy-kabillion jobs were created or saved just last week.... and 0Care is deficit neutral.

18 posted on 04/23/2010 12:44:02 PM PDT by Repeat Offender (While the wicked stand confounded, call me with Thy Saints surrounded)

To: Freee-dame; maica

Old Math Ping

19 posted on 04/23/2010 12:44:04 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
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."

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.

20 posted on 04/23/2010 12:44:23 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Obamacare: The 2010 version of the Intolerable Acts.)

To: Cyber Liberty

“When I read this, I can’t figure out (no pun intended) whether the problem is Math or English. “

The problem is the obsfication of Math by the “liberal” application of English in Math Text Books.

21 posted on 04/23/2010 12:44:51 PM PDT by GraceG

“A 3 letter word, J-O-B-S!” - VP Joe Biden

The three letters are J, O and BS. People say BS to Biden so often that he thinks it is a single letter.

22 posted on 04/23/2010 12:46:40 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Obamacare: The 2010 version of the Intolerable Acts.)

To: KarlInOhio

>> 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.”
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. <<

It reminds me of English class, so much time was spent overanalysing the sentance structure and not enough actually writing and learning new words, that all anyone could write were gramatically correct but confusing sounding sentances with simple minded words in them.

23 posted on 04/23/2010 12:48:25 PM PDT by GraceG

To: MrEdd

Scream ! Rotflmao

24 posted on 04/23/2010 12:48:30 PM PDT by major-pelham

To: edge10

There are 10 kinds of people: Those who understand binary and those who don’t.

25 posted on 04/23/2010 12:48:51 PM PDT by sima_yi ( Reporting live from the People's Republic of Boulder)

To: FlingWingFlyer
Maybe I'm missing something but, if [c]hildren in elementary school are being taught integers, coordinates, rational numbers how exactly does this equate to "dumbing down" and no wrong answers? These are actually more advance mathematical concepts. One of the problems I notice with the general population is they fail to comprehend these abstract concepts. Even if you could add, subtract and multiply like a human calculator, you would still be mathematically illiterate.
26 posted on 04/23/2010 12:49:52 PM PDT by chaos_5

To: subterfuge

No, there was “new math” as early as 1961, but most pupils never understood it in the least. Instead, they quit doing essential computation.

27 posted on 04/23/2010 12:54:11 PM PDT by Theodore R.

To: chaos_5
Even if you could add, subtract and multiply like a human calculator, you would still be mathematically illiterate.

Very true.

And I believe that the term for that is "innumerate."

Regards,

28 posted on 04/23/2010 12:57:40 PM PDT by alexander_busek

To: chaos_5

That which you communicate is genuinely meticulous howbeit the cogency is reduced by a circuitous exposition.

29 posted on 04/23/2010 12:58:46 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The hysteria of Matthewsism and Andersonism has led to a Tea Party Scare that is unAmerican.)

To: Theodore R.
No, there was “new math” as early as 1961,

I think we've already established that my 'cyphering skills are not adequate.

30 posted on 04/23/2010 1:02:43 PM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)

“That which you communicate is genuinely meticulous howbeit the cogency is reduced by a circuitous exposition. “

That last sentence make me thinkin’ meat in me head go BOOM.

31 posted on 04/23/2010 1:02:48 PM PDT by GraceG

To: GraceG

smater

???

32 posted on 04/23/2010 1:14:01 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Should people be questioning their government? Yes and "Where's the birth certificate?")

To: GraceG
I saw some of those PBS educational programs with the scientist explaining mechanics and forces after doing engineering studies in the same.

And man, the round about language he used to make a point. I understand the terms. I understand the definitions of the terms. But even then, they aren't always efficiently used in a sentence to drive the point home.

33 posted on 04/23/2010 1:14:39 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The hysteria of Matthewsism and Andersonism has led to a Tea Party Scare that is unAmerican.)

To: chaos_5

I think the author is really confusing the basic arithmetics with math. Being able to arithmetic in your head and on paper is nice, but mathematical abstractions are a completely separate thing I think. My dad has a PhD in physics and his ability to count change is suspect.

Teaching kids through having them try to solve the problem themselves is not wrong. Even proving basic theorems in euclidean geometry by yourself is great to develop analytical skills and many kids can do it at 12 or even younger. Biggest problem I see is actually kids not being challenged enough.

34 posted on 04/23/2010 1:17:23 PM PDT by dimk

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
“”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.””

I don't see what's wrong with this in principle. All of these are deeply important and fundamental concepts in math and science (except modular arithemetic, which I don't recognize). Perhaps elementary school is too early. But I homeschool. And my son understands condititional probabilities and algebraic inequalities in 4th grade. The amount of time between 1st and 6th grade for math allows for MUCH more material beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions.

What is wrong with teaching set theory? It's straightforward and very important.

None of these subject matters introduce subjective, no wrong answer, type concepts. There is always a right answer and a wrong answer when you OR two boolean numbers. There is a right answer when you union two sets.

That said, there is a huge difference between the idea and the implementation of the idea. Obviously, the education establishment goofed up badly in implementing these ideas.

35 posted on 04/23/2010 1:19:06 PM PDT by ModelBreaker

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
My husband and I were asked by our denomination's leaders to join the Spanish congregation in our county. Every Tuesday evening we help with tutoring the kids in the congregation.

NONE of our kids have mastered phonics. Some do not know even the basic letter sounds. Many do not know the sounds for common phonic combinations such as “ing”, “str”, “th” etc. There parents can not help them with this because Spanish is far more straight forward in its spelling an pronunciation that Spanish. If the Anglo kids in the county are learning phonics it because their parents are knowingly or unknowingly teaching phonics in the home, or paying for expensive tutoring.

Arithmetic is a DISGRACE! None of the kids know their math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. None know any algorithm for addition and subtraction. None are able to carry the value of 10 from the ten's column to the one’s column.

A few weeks ago, I tutored a twelve year old with her fraction homework. She had been assigned about 40 problems of adding and subtraction mixed fractions.

**She did not know what the numerator and denominator represented.
** She added and subtracted with her fingers.
** To multiply and divide she drew little dots on the page to group.
** She did not know any algorithm for either multiplication or division.
** She did not know any of the addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division math facts.

In other words, her so-called “professional” teacher sent her home with homework that was IMPOSSIBLE for her to do. This is EDUCATIONAL MALPRACTICE AND CHILD ABUSE! It is no different than taking a beginner skier to the top of the mountain and pushing them off a double black diamond trail!

Why would a “professional” teacher mistreat a child in this way????

The tension on the faces of these children is plain to see. Every day is a day of failure in school. Every evening is a exercise in frustration. And...They get pressure from their parents who wrongly believe that American schools use similar methods that they ( the parents) enjoyed in their Third World primitive ( but effective) schools! The parents are utterly befuddled that their children are doing so poorly.

I am CONVINCED that the government schools in my county are nothing but education abuse factories. If any Anglo child is learning it is because his parents are AFTERSCHOOLING!!! Any learning a child picks up it entirely due to his parents efforts in teaching the basics and his own hard work IN THE HOME!!!

In the past, when a child who did not speak English entered school, he repeated the year. This gave the child a chance to learn English and then the following year he was able to proceed and move forward again with his education. Now, those who can not speak English are put in the grade that corresponds to their age. This **guarantees** that the child will NOT be able to keep up with the class, and it is very likely that he will NEVER catch up! Is this dumb or what?

Finally...This girl that I tutored was given 40 problems as homework. That would have been my homeschooling children's assignment for the ENTIRE DAY! Essentially what our schooled children are doing is going to school all day, and then being asked to do HOMESCHOOLING again in the evening! If a child has to do as much homework as my homeschoolers did all day, then what point is there in sending a kid to school???

36 posted on 04/23/2010 1:19:32 PM PDT by wintertime

To: chaos_5

“Maybe I’m missing something but, if [c]hildren in elementary school are being taught integers, coordinates, rational numbers how exactly does this equate to “dumbing down” and no wrong answers? These are actually more advance mathematical concepts. One of the problems I notice with the general population is they fail to comprehend these abstract concepts. Even if you could add, subtract and multiply like a human calculator, you would still be mathematically illiterate.”

My reaction too. I don’t understand how teaching this is a bad thing. If it’s a substitute for being able to add, subtract etc, then its a problem. But elementary school kids are perfectly capable of understanding these ideas if they are presented right. Give me a second grader, a spinner, and three pennies and I can teach them simple probability.

37 posted on 04/23/2010 1:21:58 PM PDT by ModelBreaker

To: edge10
There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

38 posted on 04/23/2010 1:23:02 PM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)

To: wintertime

“Finally...This girl that I tutored was given 40 problems as homework. That would have been my homeschooling children’s assignment for the ENTIRE DAY! Essentially what our schooled children are doing is going to school all day, and then being asked to do HOMESCHOOLING again in the evening! If a child has to do as much homework as my homeschoolers did all day, then what point is there in sending a kid to school???”

Yup. The teachers keep the fun stuff for themselves and send long division home for the parents to teach.

39 posted on 04/23/2010 1:23:49 PM PDT by ModelBreaker

To: subterfuge
2+2=5 for large values of 2 and small values of 5.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

40 posted on 04/23/2010 1:23:53 PM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)

To: LonePalm

THAT’s the kind of clear thinking I’m talking about!

41 posted on 04/23/2010 1:25:22 PM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Calculators and Computers, that’s why. Takes away the need for rote memorization, but that’s how a lot of math concepts become ingrained.

42 posted on 04/23/2010 1:26:28 PM PDT by dfwgator

To: chaos_5
Maybe I'm missing something but, if [c]hildren in elementary school are being taught integers, coordinates, rational numbers how exactly does this equate to "dumbing down" and no wrong answers?

Because it is a lie. Children need to learn math in a logical progression, not be introduced to concepts early on. They need to learn how to count to 10, then 100, then higher. Then they need to learn how to add. Then they need to memorize multiplication tables, etc. Everything builds on top of another.

I don't have children, but I have nephews. I can see the results of this New Garbage when I help them with their homework. If a kid answers half the questions right and get half wrong, consistantly, then you know they are just guessing at answers and do not understand the concepts or the questions. Especially, with simple concepts like: Round these numbers to the nearest 10's: 35, 54, 12, 143. And the kid comes up with 30, 50, 20, 140.

43 posted on 04/23/2010 1:28:47 PM PDT by Clock King (There's no way to fix D.C.)

To: wintertime

Perhaps those 40 problems were supposed to be easy? If it was all arithmetic perhaps it was just for developing speed? If the child is comfortable with it would not take that long.

I think language is a major problem but also culture, you do not see Asian kids having same problems that kids from South/Central America do, why I have no idea to be honest, but it does seems to be the case.

44 posted on 04/23/2010 1:29:36 PM PDT by dimk

To: subterfuge
It is actually true.

2.4 + 2.4 = 4.8 rounded to integer equals 2+2=5.

A dozen, a gross, and a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven
Plus five times eleven
Equals nine square and not a bit more.

(((12+144+20)+(3*2))/7)+(5*11)=(9*9)+0
(182/7)+55=81+0
26+55=81

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

45 posted on 04/23/2010 1:37:23 PM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)

To: sima_yi
You beat me to it.
46 posted on 04/23/2010 1:38:24 PM PDT by JoeFromSidney

To: Theodore R.

“No, there was “new math” as early as 1961, ...”

Say, I noticed you typed in your date upside down.

47 posted on 04/23/2010 1:40:15 PM PDT by Scrambler Bob (If you could read my mind ... just count up the felonies!)

To: sabe@q.com

http://www.wimp.com/budgetcuts/

Here are some easily explained numbers!!

48 posted on 04/23/2010 1:41:43 PM PDT by Chickensoup ("A corrupt society has many laws" - Tacitus)

To: sima_yi
There are 10 kinds of people: Those who understand binary and those who don’t.

ROFLMAO

49 posted on 04/23/2010 1:46:07 PM PDT by RikaStrom (Pray for Obama - Psalm 109:8 "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership.")

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
"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."

Makes perfect sense to me and I'm not a math guy.

50 posted on 04/23/2010 1:46:17 PM PDT by CholeraJoe ("And the pony looked a little bored...")