Woke Math And The Intentional Destruction Of Free, Independent Thought
Even in its darkest moments, the Soviet Union was led by a dictator whose goal was to build; by contrast, the woke destroy.
There are features of American wokeness that make me gasp that socialism in the U.S. is going to be worse than the USSR where I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. The ongoing effort to transform mathematics education into a crypto-Marxist indoctrination vehicle seems like the sign of things to come.
The California Department of Education recently drafted “Equitable Math” framework that, if implemented, will destroy what’s left of mathematics education in the Golden State. Along with the directive to privilege students on the basis of sex and skin color, the proposal essentially calls for the end of math. Fox News explains, “Another document calls for centering ‘ethnomathematics,’ designing a ‘culturally sustainable math space,’ and supporting students ’to reclaim their mathematical ancestry.'”
It’s a mouthful. “Centering” is a euphemism the woke invented to avoid using traditional English expressions like “give a privileged treatment to,” “to prioritize,” or “to focus on.” The idea that there is a “mathematical ancestry” — more wokester jargon —that’s up for reclaiming is poorly informed and reeking of insecurity.
All folk cultures have their ways of keeping track of numbers. They can be fascinating, and are collected and analyzed by anthropologists, not by mathematicians. Mathematicians work with immutable, and universal, laws of nature.
Mathematics developed over the course of centuries, and across many civilizations. Because it reveals eternal truths, it can be practiced by anyone. The purpose of a mathematics classroom is to teach students mathematics, not to confuse them with anthropological data relating to counting.
I don’t know what “culturally sustainable math space” refers to, but I do know that “ethnomathematics” will create a culture in which learning math will be an impossibility.
The term first surfaced after the introduction of “Ethnic Math” curriculum by Seattle public schools in 2019. The framework is designed by educational bureaucrats who, being raised in the decades following the adoption of New Math, seem to be unaware of how the discipline works. Therefore, “Ethnic Math” is loaded with cultural baggage that simply doesn’t belong to the discipline. When most Americans might have missed out on good STEM instructions, but still view attempts to present the truths discovered in the field as anything other than absolute with suspicion, many educational bureaucrats enthusiastically jumped on the woke math bandwagon.
I wrote about Seattle’s “Ethnic Math” guidelines at the time they were introduced last year. Seattle educrats peppered their reform manifesto with the communist cant of “liberation.” With all the confidence of the undereducated, they proceeded to inject thinking wholly alien to the discipline into their directives. For instance, students are asked questions like “Can you recognize and name oppressive mathematical practices in your experience?”
The most revealing question, however, is not about the “oppressive mathematical practices,” or even about doubting the centrality of being right. These discussion topics naturally flow out of lack of understanding of methodology revealed in the question “Why/how does data-driven processes prevent liberation?”
Math is not a data-driven, inductive field like the physical sciences where conclusions are reached by collecting and studying evidence. Math works by deduction, a top-down process of reaching conclusions that are true for all numbers. As I pointed out, because it’s deductive, math is “hermetically proofed from any ideological contamination. If physical sciences still depend on data-gathering, math does not. Feelings and subjective experiences absolutely cannot figure into mathematical inquiry.”
Historically, oppressed people found mathematics liberating. In the USSR, for instance, the discipline was the dissidents’ favorite because it allowed an individual to apply his intellect in the area where Communist Party’s tentacles simply couldn’t reach:
Thinking, honest people majored in the field because its tenets were a shelter from Marxism. A commissar may vanish from encyclopedias, genetics can be banned from universities, but two plus two is four, and there is nothing the general secretary can do about it.
The most direct and precise secular approach to knowing nature ever attempted by the human race is to study the mathematical laws governing the universe. They are beyond ideology, language, and subjectivity. More than any other discipline, mathematics allows people to exercise intellect outside the oppressive practices of a society.
I find it highly disturbing that bureaucrats manning our educational institutions are pushing the idea that 2+2 is not always 4. In part it’s happening because too many of them are obviously clueless. Moreover, American bureaucracies have a rather unfortunate tendency to innovate, which moves them to push one questionable approach after another, with “anti-racism” being merely the latest trend.
The main reason woke math is on the march is simple: the woke destroy. That’s what they do. Even in its darkest moments, the Soviet Union was led by a nationalistic dictator who had it as his goal to build, to expand the country. Soviets built like the animals built the windmill in Animal Farm, of course; they were highly inefficient, often counterproductive, and extraordinary cruel. Still, the idea was to build, and they did create a subculture of highly educated, though often insubordinate elite.
After consolidating power, Bolsheviks moved to industrialize the backward empire they inherited. The country was illiterate, the educated pre-revolutionary elite fled the country. Unable to fill vacancies with homegrown experts, Communists resorted to importing British and American engineers for their pet projects like Dnieper Hydroelectric Station that was completed shortly before Hitler invaded the USSR.
Because much of the early Soviet propaganda effort was focused on building the new world of communism, the key figure in the Socialist Realist canon was the Soviet engineer. For instance, Bright Path, the iconic 1940 film produced under the close supervision of Joseph Stalin himself, tells a story of an illiterate, but hard-working girl who breaks labor records and earns the Stalin Prize, all in the effort to make herself worthy of a dashing young engineer who pays attention to her. The movie’s working title, eventually nixed by Stalin, was Cinderella. That makes an engineer a Soviet prince.
For a brief moment engineering was prestigious—that is before Russians figured out that the occupation offers little opportunity for graft. In a country where an ability to draw a second income was essential, the prestige waned quickly. However, mathematics continued to be valued by the highly educated free-thinkers for its own sake.
The woke have an agenda distinctly different from that of the Soviet Communists. They found themselves in control of the institutions of the most prosperous society that ever existed in the face of the Earth. They are not interested in cultivating a generation of thinkers who can move our society forward when they can simply live off of the resources accumulated by generations of the dreaded “white supremacists.”
Worst of all, they are depriving our children of the ability to transcend ideology and to think freely even when the powers that be demand conformity. Like good totalitarians that they are, the woke are destroying every space where men can think independently.
Woke bureaucrats are no Fields Medal winners. They are not going to revolutionize mathematics. They will stupidly, intentionally destroy it, and with it, they will destroy our children.
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to the full extent allowed by law.
Math is not oppressive. It is absolute.
People are oppressive. And bigoted for those that do not have the capacity to understand the base 1o math or Boolean Algebra. There is only truth and false.
Math, in fact, is liberating. It is the foundation of logic and reasoning.
A people who cannot think clearly are easy to enslave.
I fear the notion of “Woke Accounting”, where your paycheck is different every pay period. The upside: we may finally have a balanced budget and be able to retire the national debt.
Perhaps all of these woke “educators” should have one finger surgically removed in support of their concept of math.
Hope chick Brittany puts this front and center on her resume. Rational hiring managers deserve to know what a toxic, dangerous ignoramus she is.
“Math class is hard!” — Woke Barbie
I’ve been trying to imagine just what this idiots intend to teach.
Obviously, they must be working with a friendly neighborhood with and open cover.
Just more covering and excuses for stupidity, and a culture that sees knowledge as being white.
I was thinking…since the left is convinced people of color cannot comprehend basic mathematics let’s make it impossible for everyone.
These people are nuts, they are telling people that STEM education does not matter. Are we going to have a generation filled with women studies graduates?
As a retired engineer, math is NOT woke and the crazy idea that showing work is racist…..good luck getting a bridge design approved without old fashion math and showing actually work.
How many years after the Romans did it take for anybody on Britain to be able to make a stone wall?
We aren’t immune.
Sooner or later … that bridge design will be approved … as there will become a time when there are no people that know math who are responsible for approving projects. And once bridges are built only later to fail … they will never be built again because the people in control of the financing will not shovel money into a system where everything falls apart in a society who can do nothing right.
It’ll be approved by people who irrigate their crops with Brawndo, because it’s got what plants crave.
gotta go to Costco first
I wish we could post videos on the comments section. Recently saw a great clip about a teacher who was fired for insisting that her students learn basic math. (It was fictional but not far from the nonsense spewing from the radical progressives).It was so on-point and the ending was so satisfying.
The one were the kid insisted 2 + 2 = 22? And parents backed him up? If I could find that I would post the URL. But there is another cautionary video named “Modern Educayshun” at https://youtu.be/iKcWu0tsiZM.
It will be approved…..the person in charge of approving will rubber stamp it. No math skills necessary. At least, not until construction….then there will be a problem.
My niece with a near-complete PhD in Womens Studies is working in IT.
Perhaps, that Women Studies path might not be an option for those with Woke Math
Gives the “Heartbleed” affair a whole new perspective.
I would get fired for this comment, but it is true.
The entire reason our education system keeps having to change both our teaching methods and the materials we teach is because almost no black students can pass a math-based class without a teacher either dumbing down the class or just passing them to get them out of the room. The same way our police/firemen have had to change their tests.
This change to mathematics is going to happen. Be ready to teach your children math. Be ready to train your new employees to do math. Our education system simply cannot face the truth that the majority of people of any race are simply unable to grasp any mathematics beyond simple algebra/geometry. I don’t know if this is a new thing, but it is true now.
I know I’m not good at it, and I’m far from stupid.
I intentionally avoid that word. It’s okay to suck at math. Most of us barely got through it in high school or college. A few of us did really well and mastered it.
I wish our system did a better job identifying the people that excel in certain fields and maximizing their skills in that field.
Most of us don’t need anything beyond the basics in any field. We grind kids down by making them learn specialist knowledge that will be useless in their lives.
I excelled — right up to high school algebra. Brick. Wall.
Strange, but true: I had need of a replacement calculator VERY quickly and was in a place where 20-function scientific calculators were not to be had. A friend sent me a new one. An HP, using the RPN system. One look at it and I exclaimed “GAH!”
In those days, HP calcs came with a book explaining RPN, and I soon grasped the basics. I also started understanding what I was doing, not just going through the steps in the textbooks.
Owning an RPN calc did two things: 1) It increased my understanding of math, and, 2) assured that others would borrow your calculator ONCE.
Calculator died before a high school physics midterm, couldn’t find one to borrow for the test. Asked the teacher if I could use a log chart and a piece of scratch paper instead. He agreed, after making sure I hadn’t written any notes on it, but warned me that I wouldn’t get any extra time or special consideration when grading.
I still finished the test before half the class, with an A.
AA was intended to maintain academic and societal standards and raise up black people. Merit was still the core of academia and society. Many did not like AA – but they understood that there was a purpose and that it was meant to achieve socially beneficial goal.
The new woke plan is to simply reduce academic standards to a lowest common denominator. Dumb down everything. Ostracize those who excel (they’re privileged racists). Equality of outcome not of opportunity.
These new policies is destructive to society and no leaders of any modern advanced society would ever condone such a policy. But Americans are being brainwashed to accept this insanity and most are either accepting it, disregarding it. or not paying attention.
Probably not even equality of outcome. They’re looking to “upend structural racism”. Upend means the bottom becomes the top.
Just say no. They can’t make that work if we are awake and aware. But that’s what they dream of and whisper about.
And once the more reasonable of us die off … they’ll get what they want. They can afford to play the long game … we can’t.
> But Americans are being brainwashed to accept this insanity..>
No, but they are being bullied into tolerating and even cheering it on, on pain of firing and blacklisting for refusal to kowtow. And most will comply with the bullying because they have other things to care about. Like continuing to pay the bills and feeding the family.
HMM… Let’s try making one $3000 payment for the mortgage and claiming $3000 = $300000; thus I am all paid up. It’s just a couple of zeros that don’t count! Any banker who disagrees is a racist homophobe anyway so burn down the bank.
Actually yes you should get fired for that statement. Reducing learning difficulty to skin colour gaurantees nothing will ever improve or change. If a Black kid is struggling then absolutely YES he/she/zhe should be helped to bring their standards up. That will ensuring their children dont become part of the Democrat failure machine and continue to pump out failure after failure who never contribute anything of worth to society.
You said “If a Black kid is struggling then absolutely YES he/she/zhe should be helped to bring their standards up.” You seem to have missed the point. Dathurtz did not say that no effort should be made to educate struggling black kids. What he did say is that reducing the standards to the struggling child’s level of innumeracy constitutes abdication of the effort to raise his intelligence at all. It also teaches him that he need not make any effort at improving his mind. The lesson he will learn is that, simply because of the color of his skin, society will give him everything he wants.
Your third sentence reveals another problem with the new “woke” curriculum, this being the adulteration of the English language. One purpose of the established personal pronouns was to indicate whether the speaker was referring to one person, or to many. Now, the concept of “singular” or “plural” is closely related to math (or to counting on one’s fingers) so maybe it is difficult for some to grasp. You have used the pronoun “their” to refer to a single child. Meanwhile, the vast majority of us use “their” to refer to a plurality of persons. Prior to that, you spoke of “standards,” which are usually set by the community (e.g., plural). So we, along with the black kid, don’t know what you are trying to say. Neither, I think, do you.
The original pronouns used when referring to either male or female, were he, him, his. I’d like to see those days come back.
It takes a village …to get the wrong answer.
The Oneida community, the People’s Temple, and Heaven’s Gate certainly all did.
Not quite “almost no” but it’s way outside the standard bell curve of student achievement. D’Souza’s excellent book from almost 30 years ago “Illiberal Education” pointed out that, at that time, the number of qualified black students in terms of pure academic merit, wouldn’t fill the, at that time, 8% quotas of the Ivy League.
Perhaps “almost no” is too strong. In my experience it is true, but I spent some years in a truly atrocious city school when I was new and quickly got cynical
I am in a pretty good, but very poor school that is about 80% white. We do quite a bit better at testing than surrounding schools, but I estimate only around 20% of 11th graders come into my chemistry class with the algebra skills to “plug and chug” something as simple as the easy gas laws.
Maybe “almost no” people raised in the stereotypical American “black” culture, but believe me, it’s a cultural thing, not a racial thing.
In my sophomore year, I was privileged to share a triple with two unrelated but acquainted freshmen from Ghana.
The one I had pegged as “studious nerd” achieved:
Bachelor Of Science, Elec Eng & Comp Sci
Master Of Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Became Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Accra Institute of Technology
The “jock” was a true dark horse:
Bachelor Of Science, Management
Bachelor Of Science, Chemistry
Bachelor Of Science, Chemical Engineering
Master Of Science, Chemical Engineering
Master Of Science, Chemical Engineering Practice
(all of the above achieved simultaneously in his fifth year)
Doctor Of Science, Chemical Engineering
Became Dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
Plus he was captain of the soccer team and captain of the crew.
Let’s never make the Democrat mistake by forgetting that people are individuals — not members of groups.
When one student does poorly at math, that student might lack ability. When an entire group of students does poorly at math, blame their teachers.
If a square peg will not go in a round hole, wokists will cry that the hole is oppressing them, and demand that all round holes be widened until their pegs fit, because social justice!
Math education is already wrecked. I remember trying to help my now teenage nephew with his math homework when he was in early elementary school and I, who had college-level math and statistics classes under my belt, often had no idea what was being asked.
To this day my poor nephew still struggles with math, as much as my mom did to try to drill him in the basics when he was young, including using flash cards.
Math instruction stank in the 1950s. Thus was in Los Angeles schools that were among the top in the nation at that time. My mother tried to help and aas as confused as you.
This is bizarre. On the bright side, if they are right, it fully explains why no country in Africa ever had a space program that went to the moon and such.
May one of these BLM morons have their first house built by a woke engineer, who believes 2 + 2 does not equal 4.
Considering the appearance of some of Frank Gehry’s work, we’re already there.
God, I hate his work.
And to tie this all together, here’s what happens when one of the pre-eminent STEM institutions in the country hires “Avant Gehry” to design their Computer Sciences building. “Leaks, mold, dangerous snow and ice falls.”
I don’t mind if they seek wisdom from black mathematics or hispanic mathematics. But I don’t want my kids to waste time on that stuff, because it doesn’t work.
Latino or black engineers and scientists even use “white” mathematics. But if those parents want something different for their kids, OK. For mine, I’ll stick with what built worldwide civilization.
Here’s a question I will throw out for consideration: How many Hispanics buy into the nonsense being spouted by the “math is racist” crowd? Sure, they don’t have the same percentage of good scores as the white and Asian kids, but are they as ready to take refuge in excuses as the blacks?
How many Jews, despite their generally high math scores, buy into this leftist claptrap, and why would they?
An excellent question, and one I cannot answer. I don’t even know if they “buy into it” as much as offer it as an excuse for the failings of their pets. I am a lapsed Jew and never understood the culture of guilt and other things even when I was immersed in it.
Liberal Jews do a lot of stupid things that belie the stereotyped “smarter than thou” reputation. Combined with Jewish guilt, this is known as being “Stupid as sin”. (Which makes not sense either; how is sin inherently stupid?)
The thinking goes that anything that defies God’s commandments is by definition stupid.
Me, I wonder how much of this is blacks making excuses, as opposed to having excuses made for them by the same white liberals who think they’re all too stupid to know how to get a government ID?
This is not so much blacks making excuses but more about white liberals decided they aren’t capable and therefore, changing the standards.
Lurching towards Idiocracy. Almost there.
One of these days, a building or a bridge designed by a kid instructed in ‘ethnocentric math’ is going to collapse and kill a lot of people. Of course, white supremacy will the the culprit.
You’d think, being “ethnocentric”, that their devil is also “ethnocentric”. It’s rather interesting that all versions of “ethnocentric math” will instead have the same devil, regardless of ethnicity.
It’s already “sort of happened.” Remember that walkway collapse in Florida a few years ago. It was pointed out then that the design/engineering company’s website talked a lot about diversity in their workforce and very little else.
Didn’t that already happen, most notably with that much lauded, but now forgotten, POC-womxn-designed footbridge in Florida recently?
Brittany’s point that our culture is embedded in math is correct. The nomenclature, symbols…the logic used in proofs…and so on, would be different on an alien planet. But her statement that we think of it as the only way of knowing is wrong. It is well known that there are different kinds of knowing and reasoning. The best results come from combining different methods.
That said, anyone can easily look up California’s standardized test results. Very bad. Around half of students meet the standard in math. Or less. 3/4 of Asians, 1/2 of Caucasians, and 1/4 Black and Hispanics.
I think students need to want to learn. And we know that Katharine Birbalsingh’s methods work. It requires hard work and discipline, and no one really wants to do that in public schools.
It’s up to each person now. I wouldn’t advise anyone to attend public schools. But it may be possible to succeed in spite of them.
Mathematics is inexorable, cannot be ignored, immune to emotional appeals, impervious to bribery and extortion, cannot be voted upon, and (above all) will avenge itself if wronged. That avenging will take the form of defective planes falling out of the sky, lousy buildings and bridges collapsing in bloody ruins, poorly constructed dams and power plants suffering catastrophic failures. As someone with advanced degrees in mathematics and civil engineering, I can confidently predict this.
Poorly written software is going to get people killed too. So many things, like automotive ABS systems and aircraft flight control is dependent on bug free software and processors (Intel has had some famous hardware bugs over the years).
Ask Boeing how diversity (cheap immigrant engineers) builds aircraft.
More ask the board of directors why they keep doing jiggery-pokery on a long-obsolete design rather than grabbing a clean sheet of paper? Re-re-re-working the 737 was as stupid as trying to hang jet engines on a 377 Strato-Cruiser, itself a dangerous airplane that never should have been placed in service.
Yes, their customers demanded minimal transition training, but, Boeing could have said “no”. The airlines should have been told it would be a new design, and that is that.
Even Henry Ford came to his senses and discontinued the Model T.
Great point, Luteran.
My prof in Differential Equations was very cheap on partial credit, not sympathetic to a minor arithmetic error in solving. He explained that we are going to build a bridge with this math. What will be your excuse when it collapses? Oh, I made a tiny arithmetic error when I solved that equation.
I also recall I had one problem where an error in + or – made the difference between a trig function and an exponential function.
The correct answer is ESSENTIAL to civilization. That goes back to the days of counting the sheep in your flocks.
I believe that even in Africa if someone traded someone a cow for four sheep, and only received three sheep, that someone would not be satisfied with the transaction.
A slightly different but similar concern — transgender women are getting bummed out and feeling greatly oppressed by by Ancestry and 23andMe DNA tests which show that they are still male.
Complain to God ?
If numbers are relative not absolute then why is it those pushing such ideas demands absolute salaries not relative ones? Shouldn’t Marxists be paid Marxist salaries for instance?
A pullout allows China to get control of the richest deposits of those pesky rare earths outside of China. This is the return from the 1.5 billion dollar investment in Hunter. China doesn’t even have to invade just develop the infrastructure to mine and refine and control. No chips for our cars but plenty of equity. The sidewalks will become the new platform of democracy. Nice work Joe China don’t spend it all in one place.
East Asians not only picked up on white mathematics, but they’re better at it than whites.
I’d love making change for students of “Woke Math.”
I have made a decent living w/ math (civil engineer). If the rest of the country eschews math, will I have an advantage, or will I be pilloried in the public square?
2 + 2 = you are racist.
In the Woke kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is burned at the stake.
That’s pretty much what almost happens in the HG Wells short story “The COuntry of the Blind”. Here, read it on line: http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/3/
Two years calculus , a year of differential equations…I am so unwoke and racist.
It takes a village to get the wrong snswer. We are morphing into a society that cares little for cold hard reality…unprepared when it rears to ugly head.
There is in fact quite a bit more inductive thinking in math than you may think. Much of mathematics is about observing patterns and trying to find the logic behind the patterns. It is true that proof is deductive, but the thought to arrive at the proof isn’t always.
And now you have grasped the thought pattern of the discussions in the Talmud.
Maf beez HAR!
Regarding your using ghetto-talk to make your point: I have done a bit of traveling in Europe. The blacks I encountered there all spoke either with their native-African or Jamaican accents, or spoke with the accents of the locals. Not once did I hear singular-plural conflics, or this “I be…” form. They also spoke in complete sentences; none of this “He my homie!” or She racis’!”
(One thing I found jarring: hearing a black man in Sicily, speaking English with an Italian accent.)
Naples and Sicily have had a rather cosmopolitan culture since medieval times. Greeks, Italians, Moors, Saracens, Normans, and others have hung their hats there over the centuries, and a few of each stayed.
Name just one culture, successful in its age, where 2+2 did not equal 4.
Any street dealer can get 2 + 2 = 4 right
Pretty sure an engineer in ancient Egypt would have taken exception to the idea that 2+2 doesn’t always equal 4. Woke math conflicts directly with “we wuz kangs.”
Oceania in Orwell’s 1984. 2+2 equaled whatever Big Brother said it did.
Clearly, someone who thinks 2 + 2 = 4 is a statement of cultural norms, flunked math.
I noticed a long time ago that people who are good at math see not only its utility but its beauty, while people who are bad at it deny its beauty and its utility.
The wokists are at war with reality and with anyone who tries to point them back to it. It’s a fight they ultimately can’t win, but they’ll make a big, bloody mess of just about everything along the path of their mad crusade.
Praise God, again, I was able to homeschool our children K-12. Being a double major of finance and economics, and my husband a math/economics major, our kids didn’t stand a chance of ethnomathematics.
Thank you, dear God, thank you for providing our path!
The “Woke Math” isn’t going to get any of these “students” thru a STEM college degree. This means US industries will have to resort to “useless diversity hires”
Or hire Indians and Chinese.
I have minimal talent as a musician. I was a much better chess player than everyone but the top tier players. I was a math major as an under grad. What caused me to switch from math to getting a JD was an incident during my senior year in an Advanced Abstract Algebra class. There were 22 peeps in the class and only three of us turned a homework assignment of a proof. I always used legal pads to do proof since it was a badge of honor to do the proof in less than one page. My proof was almost two pages long along with one of the girls in the class, but mine was three lines less. Thing was there was some 15 year old kid who turned in a proof that was 18 lines long. I realized most of the class would wind up high school math teachers while the girl and I might be teaching math at the college level.
Point is that music, chess, and math are three disciplines where prodigies happen. Mozart was a better musician at seven years old that anyone else alive, Bobby Fisher was a top tier chess player before he was a teenager and only got better, Pascal was at the top of his profession as a teen and did ground breaking work all his life. These peeps were not what is called an idiot savant, they had an intrinsic grasp of their area of study that was more than simple education.
Bottom line is some peeps are simply better at some things than others, and some are so much better others will never catch up.
True…but in this case normal levels of functional comprehension are criticized and those that are stellar are tossed aside to maintain equity. Intelligence is not celebrated.
I learned really fast that I wasn’t going to be a mathematician. I did well enough in 200 level math in college, but anything past that seems like wizardry to me. I am sure they worked very hard, but it seemed like some people just intuitively understood the concepts and techniques and I definitely did not.
A LOT has to do with how it’s taught. I learned “New Math” starting in about the 1st or 2nd grade (around 1963) and it screwed me up for the rest of my time in school. In junior and senior high schools, I was in an “accelerated” division and had five years of college level math – algebra (two years) to calculus, with several half-year electives for good measure. I passed every course, but didn’t understand what I was doing.
Years later, I decided to teach myself math. I bought a stack of text books (of the same subjects I had “learned” in school), with three or four books on each specific type of math. I started with one book, and worked my way through them all. When I ran into something that I did not understand in one book, I would switch to another book, eventually making my way through them all. I came out of the experience with a much better understanding of what I was doing, because I was able to reference text books that explained concepts in ways that I understood. (Even though no single text book was able to explain every concept so that I could understand it.) How something is taught, and how teaching is tailored to an individual student’s needs are both extremely important.
But 2+2 always equaled 4.
As with many things happening in the last 5-6 years in the United States, Orwell was eerily prescient in 1984:
“In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?”
Which, in turn, points at the overarching organizing principle of IngSoc and today’s leftist radicals:
““Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
Saw a great t-shirt the other day: “MAKE ORWELL FICTION AGAIN”
“… bureaucrats manning our educational institutions are pushing the idea that 2+2 is not always 4.”
One may rest assured that when they do their taxes 2+2 does indeed equal 4.