Saturday, August 18, 2007

Teaching Math

"I am not bound to please thee with my answers." ~ William Shakespeare

I received this e-mail in my in-box labeled "jokes". Possibly it would be funny if it weren't so true:

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King
for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was
digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from
my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there,
holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking
at the screen on her register.

I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to
just give me two quarters, but she hailed the
manager for help. While he tried to explain the
transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution
in teaching math since the 1950s:

1. Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His
cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his

2. Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His
cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What
is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His
cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His
cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your
assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math In 1990
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he
is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for
the habitat of animals or the preservation of our
woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit
of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?
Topic for class participation after answering the question:
How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut
down their homes?

(There are no wrong answers)

6. Teaching Math In 2007
Un hachero vende una carretada de madera por
$100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto
dinero ha hecho?

Some may remember that I discussed a reduced meals form I received from the High School last year when I enrolled my son in school. What was unusual about the form was that the whole thing was printed in Spanish. Not Partly Spanish. Not equal parts Spanish and English. All Spanish.

Maybe it's not so unusual anymore, but it should be.

We shouldn't have to change our culture to accommodate others. Unless we are living in their country. If they live in ours, they need to accommodate us.


Liam said...

Hang on! Weren't the 80's and early 90's the Reagan/Bush years?

And as for the closing comments? Pure White-Man's arrogance; democracy puts the decision on what is right in the hands of the majority. If WASPs aren't the majority in your area, entonces tienes que aprender español, mi amigo; estás en mi país!

Francis Lynn said...

The progression in the math problem is funny. But true. The Spanish part is sad.

Here are the languages used in driver tests in Calif: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Rumanian, Russian, Samoan, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, Vietnamese.

Like this is gonna help them read English road signs.

More stats: Alameda County (CA) Medical Center has 18 full-time interpreters on staff in addition to 19 on-call translators. Providing translation services costs the center more than $1 million a year.

Jefferson County, Kentucky, Public Schools – which provides 65 ESL teachers and dozens of bilingual assistants, spends about $5 million a year on ESL students.

More stats here:

Then there's the judge who dismissed the charges of a man charged with sexual assault on a 5 yr old, because the court could not find an interpreter for his obscure language after 3 yrs of looking.

It costs taxpayers hundreds of millions for this inane kowtowing to other languages. Fortunately, towns across the country are slowly making ordinances mandating English only, except where it is required by Federal law.

It's really sickening.

Lone Ranger said...

Regardless of who is in office, the bureaucracies in this country are run by liberals. And everything liberals touch turns to doo doo.

Mark said...

Liam, I agree the time line for the math progression is somewhat off, but I didn't compose the "joke", I just copied and pasted it.

But "white man's arrogance"? So far, the majority all over this country speaks English (or at least, an American version of English). That especially includes the county where I currently live. I'll bet there are fewer than 1% Hispanics in our county's school system. That's why a Spanish language form is such a waste of printers ink here.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Though so very true the mathe problem is hilarious.

By the way I quit giving loose change when getting chnage from a cashier to even up the money because of the same situation you ran into. I was spending to mcuh time waiting for the cashier to solve their confusion.

Liam said...

If you've got your stats right then all you have to do is get some folks together and use your voice; use your vote. Decisions are made by those who show up.

Erudite Redneck said...

"We shouldn't have to change our culture to accommodate others. Unless we are living in their country. If they live in ours, they need to accommodate us."

That's what the Indians said. What goes around comes around.

My suggestion: Cierre la boca, y aprenda espanol.

Mark said...

I might choose to learn Spanish if I think it would make me a more well rounded individual, but I shouldn't have to learn it just to communicate with people who are living in my country and refuse to learn English.

You make a good point though, ER. If our forefathers had made it a point to learn one of the many native American languages we would all be complaining that the Mexicans should be learning Cherokee, or Apache, or Seminole, or Nez Perce, or something.

Liam, I am talking about the particular county (not country) I live in currently. There aren't many Hispanics here. It was a standard reduced price meal form that was handed out to parents with the other enrollment documents. It was just a mistake that it was printed in all Spanish. Of course, they had English forms. They just gave me the wrong one.

Mark said...

No comments about the dumbing down of American children? That was the OTHER point of the e-mail.

I didn't write the part about the cashier not knowing how to make change, either. That part was in the e-mail as well.

By the way, trying to figure out how to dispense change like that confuses me, too. I was never very good at math and I hated it, so when I had my required credits to pass math in high school, I refused to take any more.

Now, of course, I wish I had at least taken Algebra.

Abouna said...

So true and so sad, certainly not funny.

Trader Rick said...

Unbelievable that some here believe what they do. Our civilization is doomed. I'm proud to be a WASP; We tried to show the world democracy and Individual Liberty: This planet rejects it. So it goes.

Cameron said...

The dumbing down of America's children starts in the home. There are good teachers and bad teachers, but the real key to making smart kids is parental involvement.

TA said...

It was a joke people!