Educating our Childrendirt track date -- Wednesday, July 24, 2002 -- 10:12:23 AM
Schools, homeschooling, homework, thinking, all things educational from preschool to high school.This thread is tagged: education, kids, parenting
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The only current reason for teaching it in such volume is to employ researchers.
And to determine top students for college. A physician friend of mine describes higher math classes as "window dressing" on the college/post grad application.
I disagree. I've never "used" the Latin I've studied, but I think it was a very important part of my education, and I'm very pleased that my children are taking Latin. Higher level math teaches important logic skills.
Latin taught me grammar more quickly and thoroughly than any English class I ever took. I was never clear on gerunds or the subjunctive until I took Latin. Although that certainly says a lot more about me than it does about my English teachers.
After advising my own sons and literally 100's of undergrad and graduate students, I confess I am the anti- stumbo...the more math, the better I say. Frankly, I can’t imagine an educator using his approach to advise students toward their future. IAC, his counsel falls on deaf ears here.
Of course, many agree with him at the undergrad level, avoiding any math for such gems as Local Town History 101 and the History of Beer, advanced level 210.
Your wish has come true, at least for most USA students.
Has it? Is math now optional for high-school and college kids? Have 95% of high-school math teachers, and 80% of college math profs, been laid off, and doing productive work elsewhere? I obviously haven't been in academia for many years, but I think I would've heard about it.
to determine top students for college.
Give them IQ tests. Cheap, quick, and reliable (not one test, but, say, one or two per year). We'll know by age 6, or at least by 10, certainly by 14.
I've never "used" the Latin I've studied, but I think it was a very important part of my education ... Higher level math teaches important logic skills.
I'm not against teaching math, Latin, or even music to those who like it -- whether they become professionals or not, it can just turn into a lifetime hobby, which is a good thing (it benefits nobody but the hobbyists, but it benefits them by making their lives more enjoyable).
But I seriously don't believe it improves anyone's logic skills much. Sure -- if someone innately has such skills and they are not exercised, they'll most likely atrophy; but if they're not there, which is the case for most people, no amount of math, Latin, etc. will create them ex nihilo, er, out of nothing (they might be able to dimly learn something, but will have forgotten it in a few years if not months). And while, on average, it may do some good, that good is nowhere near justified by the social costs of achieving it. (Just like, say, daily basketball practice with a coach watching your every move will improve your health and coordination -- but so would jogging and juggling, or jogging while juggling; and we can certainly tell by age 14 whether you have even the slightest chance of ever making it to the NBA, which for 99% of people would be a clear "no." And if you don't make it to the NBA, then basketball is only good for you as a hobby.)
For 99% of people, the benefits of studying formal math are no greater than those of solving Dudeney-type -- or, for most, much easier -- little puzzles, or for that matter cryptic crosswords. (And many people do, me included.) Voluntary fun for some at very little cost, as opposed to mandatory pain for almost all at the cost of having thousands and thousands of teachers and, worse, profs waste their time -- for the same gain. So why bother?
"to determine top students for college."
"Give them IQ tests. Cheap, quick, and reliable (not one test, but, say, one or two per year). We'll know by age 6, or at least by 10, certainly by 14."
Stumbo...IQ tests have a validity coefficient of around .42 re: college performance criteria, so they they predict no more than around 18 percent of the variability within college success.
IQ tests ... predict no more than around 18 percent of the variability within college success.
That's because people adjust their choices based on their abilities and preferences. A outscored B on IQ tests; A took math at MIT, while B took engineering at Michigan State; both successfully graduated (and, by now, B is vastly out-earning A).
Of course, success doesn't just depend on intelligence; IQ tests won't reveal the ability/willingness to do hard work (me being a prime example). But that is something that can be taught, with a reasonable chance of reasonable improvement. Intelligence, sadly, cannot.
And of course you'll have lots of random variability on top of that: either A or B could get into a brain-damaging car accident, become terminally depressed after being dumped by a girlfriend, and/or become an alkie. Well, that's life.
The best predictors for GPA were academic self-efficacy and achievement motivation
Yep, of course. And they do mention "institutional selectivity," though I don't know whether they mean a student's choice of where to apply or the institutions' own selectivity. I don't see them mentioning choice of major.
thanks for getting me to question and discuss that which I most strongly believe in.
That's what we're (mostly) all here for!
Some grammar wouldn't kill you either.
Everything he writes is barely literate, but he presumes to advise everyone else about education.
"USA" is acceptable, if slightly odd in this context, shorthand for "American." (Surely "USA-an" would be ridiculously odd in any context!) "The USA team beat the Canadian team in the final, 5-3, while the USSR team won the bronze medal, defeating the Finnish team 6-2."
The initial caps, not so hot.
No, since it makes no sense as written.
"NATO tanks are superior in quality to Warsaw-Pact tanks." Would you expand "NATO"?
Hey, this is the Internet; it's not like u haven't seen much worse b4. I haz, even from some highly-educated ppl.
(Perhaps this belongs in Word Surgeons. My entire rant probably belonged in some other thread, too, but I was responding to a specific remark.)