Contrary to popular opinion, U.S. mathematics education has for decades achieved near-universal success in its goals. Virtually all citizens acquire a set of “core” mathematical competencies, which they use to great effect throughout their lives.

All that remains is to articulate, for the public, precisely what those goals and competencies are…

Students will learn to deflect any and all mathematical conversations with self-effacing phrases like “I’m not really a math person” and “Ha, numbers are the worst, right?”

Students will groan amiably when asked to calculate a tip.

Students will internalize a deep and nameless sense of intellectual inferiority.

Students will consider multiple representations of mathematical ideas, and find them all equally baffling.

Students will revere mathematics as a kind of magic. Boring, irrelevant magic.

Students will blithely defer to dubious statistics – except for any statistics that challenge their preconceptions, which they will reject out of hand.

When faced with an unfamiliar problem, students will cross their fingers and combine the numbers at random.

Students will look up one day, decades into adulthood, and realize with a sense of scandal and outrage that they never actually needed any algebra.

In a just world, Ben, you would be the Secretary of Education and Betsy DeVos would be doodling away in some cold hinterland state, but oh well.
Just sayin’….

A MODEST PROPOSAL, eh, Ben?

In a just world, Ben, you would be the Secretary of Education and Betsy DeVos would be doodling away in some cold hinterland state, but oh well.

Just sayin’….

But of course in the real world, money talks and actual ability walks.

If you haven’t already read it, you might like John Gatto’s “Six Lesson Schoolteacher” http://education.irshaad.net/John_Taylor_Gatto_6_Lesson_Schoolteacher.html “Is it any wonder Socrates was outraged at the accusation that he took money to teach?”

Ha! I loved the one where the child combines numbers at random… so relatable. Shared it with my friends 🙂

It may be related to / inspired by “How Old is the Shepherd?”, which should be Googled and watched if you haven’t already done so.

And when those kids grow up, they’ll become the American students in this joke by V.I. Arnold:

https://math.stackexchange.com/q/1594740/208828

😜

Have you ever clicked on the ad at the end of your blog?

Yes, love the two airplane problems!

Never had to solve any simultaneous equations!! Hahahaha

Yes it’s relatable for all the non – mathematicians and non – maths students. By the way, I’m a maths student.