I did just OK in math when I was a sophomore at Amarillo High School in 1962-63.
Then, everything changed.
Math became completely foreign. It was no longer a language I was familiar with. It was like going into a world where people on Friday spoke English and then on Monday they spoke Japanese.
This would not have been a particularly big problem, except that you had to pass some math to get out of high school and you had to pass two years of math to get out of college, and the latter was a big, big deal because if you didn't keep your IIS deferment by staying in college you got drafted into the Army, and this was not a great time to be in the Army.
How I made it through is another story.
But, here's the thing: I always thought my failures at math after my sophomore year were MY fault. I just didn't measure up. I didn't have the right stuff. If math had been football I would have been playing checkers.
Now, it turns out that I was totally wrong. It wasn't me. It was my math teachers!
Elizabeth Green, writing in the Sunday New York Times magazine, makes a strong case that every time something changes in the world of math instruction, the teachers don't understand what to do. They get no instruction themselves. And the texts don't help, either.
Wow. What a revelation.
But, this is definitely NOT about me.
It's about the future of this nation and its economy and its government and its competitiveness.
Read the article. It seems to add up.
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