Re: Virtue, vice, and mathematics

Joyce Fetteroll

On Feb 15, 2014, at 11:43 PM, chris ester <> wrote:

I also always suspected that school systems vastly over complicated math as a job security measure.
That assumes educators know a better way to teach math but choose to complicate it to create jobs.

I think any theory of "how things are" that requires the people involved to be less moral or less intelligent than the one coming up with the theory, that theory needs examined further.

The question to ask is why do massive numbers of people, people willing to devote their lives to working in and improving the system, believe school instruction works? There's 3 things:

1) If the goal of school is seen as future security for the child, most kids *do* go onto college and/or jobs and become productive citizens. It encourages the belief that if educators just work harder the system could work for everyone.

2) Educators are bound by methods that produce testable results. Educators have to -- and should -- show all along that what they're doing works.

3) Public education works for what it was originally, 100 years ago, designed to do: to get kids reading, writing, doing some math, and get some geography, history and literature knowledge in too while they're there.

Unfortunately the more people drawn into the system to "fix" it, to make it work for every child, the harder it becomes to change.

The change isn't going to come from schools. Parents *want* what schools offer. They want the comfort of believing that schools can prepare their kids to get a secure job and future.

Natural learning is easy to understand. It's not so easy to feel confident that natural learning is as good as (let alone better) than institutional learning.

Natural learning *shouldn't* test as well as school learning. It isn't geared to passing tests. It's geared to understanding. And understanding is hard to test for!

If Natural learning were easy to trust Sandra could have put up on her website:

Create a rich environment. Support and feed their interests. Connect with them.

And none of us would still be sitting here nearly 20 years later, still explaining that it does work. ;-)


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