22 March 2004
Well, I like 72 myself
Many years ago, Tom Lehrer spelled out the facts about New Math:
"In the new approach, as you know, the important thing is to understand what you're doing, rather than to get the right answer."
This Christian Science Monitor piece suggests that even understanding what you're doing is now largely irrelevant:
In Plano, Texas, parents whose children were using the "exemplary" Connected Math program questioned sixth-grade assignments like: "Choose a whole number between 10 and 100 that you especially like. In your journal, record your number, explain why you chose that number, list three or four mathematical things about your number, list three or four connections you can make between your number and the world."
Had this been dished up to me in sixth grade, I'd have picked a prime number and pointedly explained that there aren't any more connections, thank you very much. Do sixth-graders these days even know what prime numbers are?
(Via Kimberly Swygert, who thinks this sort of thing is more "execrable" than "exemplary".)Posted at 7:54 PM to Dyssynergy