An interesting post via the Advice Goddess – about how it’s more than just the institutional flaws in our educational system that make our kids suck at learning. It’s also a cultural issue. I concur. I work with families at the very top of the values-education cultural scale, but I see a lot of things I wish I could beat out of the local school system. There are classes that don’t use textbooks – just amateur photocopied handouts, or printouts of Powerpoint slides. More than once in these materials I’ve found typos that could have easily been caught – had anyone with a competent math background actually bothered to read the handout, because there were glaring errors like typos in equations. Good luck, kids, learning math when your teachers aren’t even giving you the correct equations! I’ve also seen classes that start out strong simply drop test problems designed to evaluate students’ mastery of the concept. Most of the students in the class missed those questions on the test, so what did they do? Despite promises to parents that the school would re-cover the material until the students “got it” – they simply dropped those questions from the retest and went forward. Uh-huh. No wonder American kids can’t do math. They aren’t being taught to understand it! And that’s handicapping even the brightest of students. Those without an affinity for numbers and the abstract concepts and relationships involved in mathematics (and the self-motivation to seek out their own resources and essentially teach themselves) are simply doomed from the start. And that’s among the people who actually do care about the learning, and not just about the certificate at the end!
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