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January 22, 2007

No wonder the US is falling behind in education

As a student in elementary school, I learned the basics of mathematics using the classic algorithms thankfully. I am completely unfamiliar with the methods displayed in this video, and should I have kids one day, would be unable to help them if they are taught improperly. I would like to think that I have a mastery of the basic, if not some of the more advanced, mathematics, and I credit that with an effecient, methodical approach.

Unfortunately, this is consistent with the criticisms of education today. Some of the textbooks Miss McDermott displays do not focus solely on math, but also move into geography (in my time, part of the broader course of social studies). Do the teachers not have enough time to teach social studies seperately? I guess between all the time they teach students about diversity, acceptance, and other politically charged topics, there is very little time left to teach them the basics they will desperately need in an ever-more competetive world. The biggest complaint I have about my early education was that we failed to make it to the Cold War in my history courses, leaving me to have to learn about it on my own later on, and this can only be blamed on the end of the school year. Yes, it proves there may not always be enough time to teach everything, but if the basics are there, the rest can follow.

And let's face it. How stupid will a student look guessing and checking their multiplication while solving a calculus problem? If any of you out there reading this are educators, please take this into consideration. There are ways to get to the students who need more help, but it is foolish to place at risk students who are capable of learning and mastering mathematics, let alone any other subjects that appear to be sorely neglected.