# "No Child left Behinds" Horrible logical conclusion.

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• 02-01-2008, 08:04 PM
Jakko
"No Child left Behinds" Horrible logical conclusion.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/educati...s_N.htm?csp=34
Quote:

DeTurck is stirring the pot again, this time in a book scheduled to be published this year. Not only does he favor the teaching of decimals over fractions to elementary school students, he's also taking on long division, the calculation of square roots and by-hand multiplication of long numbers.

Basically, the only conclusion I can reach from this is he is saying that, instead of teaching the students to work out problems by hand, he wants, instead, them to be taught how to do it by calculators. Afterall, what other reason is there to remove square roots and long division by hand?

I see this as an insanity. America's education system is already a joke compared to the rest of the world. The idea that you can't let anybody feel inferior, or let anyone have less knowledge, seems to have led American educators to the conclusion that everything should be dumbed down.

And don't get me started on the reliance on calculators. This laziness has been growing over the past decade, so that people in my math classes can't even seem to work out the most basic algebraic equations unassisted by a calculator. I feel shame that we are losing the building blocks of mathematics for this. We are rotting our brains with convenience and malaise, with disuse.

Does anybody see this as I do? Does anybody else shudder to think of the next generation of American engineer's? Or am I the lone voice in the wilderness on this issue?
• 02-01-2008, 08:16 PM
Digital_Eon
It seems awfully lazy to me. Fractions may be difficult to learn, but they're hardly obsolete even in the daily lives of people who don't work in math-based fields. What about in baking, for example? Does he expect people to grab a calculator every time they need to add half a cup of something and then measure 0.5 of a cup? Does he work for a calculator company or something? (I'd actually be surprised if he had no connections to at least one. Everyone is motivated by money these days.)

Besides, it's a well-known fact that you need to learn the basics of something in order to grasp it at all. Using calculators at that age means that the only education children will be getting is in the use of calculators. The adults that they become won't understand math at all, and unfortunately, math is absolutely necessary these days from small tasks like buying food at the grocery store to calculating finances and paying mortgages. If adults become unable to do simple calculations in their minds, who's to say that businesses won't take advantage of this and be able to raise or falsely advertise prices/rates/etc. with the public being totally unaware?
• 02-01-2008, 08:29 PM
p00
I agree people need to learn to do things by hand. But, when you take upper division courses in physics and mathematics, no one wants to spend hours and hours doing things by hand. Upper devision mathematics is much more than being able to work things by hand. It's no longer just computing problems. It's more theory and working with abstract subjects. You can be really good at computing problems but that won't do you much if your going for the graduate level.
• 02-01-2008, 08:35 PM
Digital_Eon
It's all right when you're taking a high-level university or even highschool course, though - some of those equations would just be ridiculous to do by hand. The article isn't about that, though; it's about not teaching children these basic principles. The reason calculators are acceptable - and even required - in subsequent courses is because it's obvious the students already know those basics perfectly. A child who hasn't been taught fractions or long division may not even be able to grasp equations in subjects like calculus.
• 02-01-2008, 08:43 PM
Henchy432
It's lame. Kids should learn how solve problems. Factions happen in real life.
• 02-01-2008, 09:27 PM
infamouse
I agree with u guys about that kids need to be able to do that but still it takes a while if you have to do 50 problems of long division with out one but they first should make sure they can do the problem before letting them use calculators
• 02-01-2008, 10:04 PM
Jakko
Quote:

Originally Posted by infamouse
I agree with u guys about that kids need to be able to do that but still it takes a while if you have to do 50 problems of long division with out one but they first should make sure they can do the problem before letting them use calculators

Since when are little children doing 50 long division problems at one time?

And no, the fact is that they need to do those all by hand, not only to see that they know how to do the work, but so that they will have a firm grasp of it, I think we can all agree.
• 02-01-2008, 10:20 PM
kayangelus
This guy makes me want to cry.
In Pre-Calc, we need to have our answers correct to 3 decimal places, as per the AP calc standard. If we have a long fraction, along with some square roots in there, the simple fact is that I have a far easier time with the problem when using fractions/square roots to solve it through, and only converting to decimals at the end.

I'm interested in how this guy wants to change something even as simple as the quadratic formula though, since that definitely involves fractions.

Yeah, basically in short, during high school, fractions and square roots are much more important than decimals during calculations. Without those, life becomes hell.

And how do you not understand fractions? How do you not get what they mean? I still can't understand how some people find that hard. Are the teachers too dumb to explain it?
• 02-01-2008, 10:26 PM
infamouse
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jakko
Since when are little children doing 50 long division problems at one time?

And no, the fact is that they need to do those all by hand, not only to see that they know how to do the work, but so that they will have a firm grasp of it, I think we can all agree.

u never had my teachers or my mom. they made me work. my mom wanted me to be some to have a job that involves math even though i hated it
• 02-01-2008, 11:07 PM
kaom
Quote:

Originally Posted by kayangelus
This guy makes me want to cry.
In Pre-Calc, we need to have our answers correct to 3 decimal places, as per the AP calc standard. If we have a long fraction, along with some square roots in there, the simple fact is that I have a far easier time with the problem when using fractions/square roots to solve it through, and only converting to decimals at the end.

Wait, what is this nonsense. You have to convert to decimals? I find fractions much easier to work with than decimals, to be honest - they're way easier to understand and manipulate, aren't they? Not to mention more accurate... 1/3 is precise. 0.3333333... well, I know which looks better to me. (Of course, not all fractions look as pretty as that, I'll admit.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jakko
Does anybody else shudder to think of the next generation of American engineer's?

Not really. Calculators only get you so far once you're at that level, since you tend to, you know, not use numbers in your problems as much. They're not going to get the degree if they don't know what they're doing.

Teaching kids to use calculators is pointless, let them learn that on their own once they understand the mathematics - calculators aren't as useful at higher levels anyway.
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