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George, your addendum is a little complex for me, but I think you're saying that low-cost online education creates a free market where one barely exists today. Kids (and parents who want their kids to succeed) will no longer need vast resources to get a better-than-the-crappy-average education. Those kids who avail themselves of the new education will get better jobs and other kids (and their parents) will see that an education and a better life is available. Over time, that seems like the best way, and surely the only way, to fix the mess we're in. The existing system is too huge and corrupt to change. The only way to reform it is to let it die.
Bookmarked - thank you!
I'm Megan Mavy, by the way. I didn't realize my name didn't show up until you so tactfully pointed it out. Thanks for the recommendation. My eldest is 8, so we haven't had the opportunity to broach higher maths yet. I'm hoping I can find a good tutor in the next few years, but I have yet to meet anyone who's able to teach math and has time to tutor. Turns out people who have math skills are valuable. I'm a victim of Saxon, and I almost think I would have been better off starting from scratch in college with basic arithmetic. Saxon sucked the life out of me and made me hate numbers. I only started to enjoy math at all when I signed up for a statistics class in college, hoping that I could somehow get a C by living in the math lab. I ended up really enjoying it, and pulled off an A with a little help from my boyfriend. I really feel for kids in the public school system who have the spiral method to deal with. It's a crying shame. I don't know what the solution is for the population at large, but homeschooling is the answer for my family.
Gregory, I've been reading Rebane for quite some time, this thread just happens to be very interesting to me because I have 5 kids, 3 of them school age, and I'm trying to educate them. Take a look at Saxon Math or any of the other popular CA elementary school "math" texts and compare them with Singapore Math. The CA standards are all about memorizing maddening series of steps and worthless facts. Why the heck would you waste 5 minutes trying to get a 5 year old who can't remember the difference between yesterday and last week and tomorrow how to use a calendar? Saxon spends 10 minutes of the daily 20 minute lesson trying to teach Kindergartners how to use calendars. Once a kid's brain is ready for the concept of a calendar, he'll pick it up without even trying. Why not stick to teaching kids mathematical principles that actually affect their reasoning process instead of wasting time and sanity on ridiculous bull honky? If you look at a reasonable, rational program like Singapore, you'll find a lot less pictures of children of many races holding hands and singing songs about equality, way less frenetic jumping from subject to subject, and plenty of meat and potatoes mental math, word problems and almost zero spelling-out-every-step-to-take. I'm with George; if we can't teach our kids basic math, we're doomed. Not everyone is an engineer, but math taught right structures your brain to approach problems logically, builds creativity in problem solving, and gives kids confidence that an answer can be found with a little time and effort. For instance, if you had a decent math education, it might occur to you that a subject like education might draw in a few lurkers and motivate them to comment. Sincerely, Sock Puppet
Unfortunately, I think even testing is a waste at this point... maybe not a complete waste, but pretty close. My 3rd grader just did her state testing and I'm completely disgusted by the material that was covered and the material that wasn't. Why give equal weight to her ability to abbreviate the months of the year and her reading comprehension? Why on Earth test her to see if she can measure centimeters (as in, is the flower petal 1 cm, 2 cm or 3cm) with her fingers alone? California standards-based math for elementary school students is a complete joke - all about tricking the kids into memorizing steps instead of teaching them concepts. We use texts that teach mathematical principles, then spend a couple weeks at the end of the year "catching up" on the stupid state standards before the annual test. I wonder every year if there's any reason to bother with the state test... And I also wonder how the unions are benefiting from these crappy curricula. I can't stand to teach my kids garbage. It's just as much work to teach them garbage as to teach them valuable skills. Why do the work and skip the reward? Does someone have a vested interest in keeping kids stupid?
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May 2, 2012