Do you know why the US can’t do math? Oh right, because we’re taught too much of it.

Today, The CS Monitor* has a report on new proposed standards of math education in the US. The general idea is that the US scored lower than 25 of 30 developed nations in mathematics skills. Looking at those scores,

The most successful nations concentrate on a few key topics in the early grades and build on those to teach algebra

The panel’s answer is that students aren’t learning basics, and that K-8 educators should teach fewer topics and focus on basics longer. The article doesn’t mention which 60 of the 83 topics should get the ax, but this sounds dubious to me. Fundamentals should be taught. That’s obvious, but all the present topics need to be covered sometime. Algebra is required for all later topics, but it won’t get you a high-tech job.

*Regardless of your initial reaction, The CS Montior is excellent, except for its slightly loony opinion pieces.

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One response to “Do you know why the US can’t do math? Oh right, because we’re taught too much of it.

  1. Homer, you might enjoy the essay “A Mathematician’s Lament” by Paul Lockhart.

    http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_03_08.html

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