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years of teaching math

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by k810329, Jan 27, 2011.

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  1. k810329

    k810329 Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Years of Math 1959 - 2009

    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 1950s

    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

    2. Teaching Math In 1960s

    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 1970s

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

    4. Teaching Math In 1980s

    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 1990s

    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, and if you feel like crying, it's ok.)

    6. Teaching Math In 2009

    Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?

    7. Year 2010
    Who cares, just steal the lumber from your rich neighbor's Property, he won't have a gun to stop you, and the President says its OK anyway cuz its redistributing the wealth.
  2. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    Your post says it all...
  3. primed

    primed Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Amen to that! The dumbing down of America is nearly complete. And, those students can soon vote!! Scary stuff.

  4. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Maybe so in some places.

    I do know the mathematics curriculm at my daughter's school is as good or better than what I had 40 years ago. I went on to complete an advanced degree in engineering so I was also a pretty serious student of mathematics. But just as things were then they are today as well. Not everyone mastered mathematics they way I did, in fact only a small percentage did. The same could be said in comparing my generation with all previous ones.

    If there is a failing with the educational system, I don't think it is a matter of the material or methods as much as it is the lack of requirements to learn those concepts before moving on. Also not as much parental direction and interest as there should be in these matters. The good news is that there are plenty of bright kids out there making the most out of their educational opportunities. We also have the usual population of underachievers that are going to find it difficult to maintain a good standard of living as adults.
  5. snkypete

    snkypete Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Hickory Farms had an after Christmas sale on packaged items. The sign read "all items 50% off, tax included." I took a package marked $15.00 to a
    17 or 18 year old girls tending the booth and asked, to make sure, "this item is half price, right?" She said "THE SIGN SAYS 50%". I thought, odd, but okay. I Handed her the package and she picked up a handheld calculator and stared at it. Finally I said, "half of $15 is $7.50".
    She scowled at me. I handed her a $10.00 bill. Again she picked up the calculator and stared at it. I said, "my change would be $2.50." Another scowel.
    At this point her boss walked up and asked what was going on. I explained it to her. She asked her helper, "my goodness girl, what do they teach you in school these days?" Her reply, "We haven't had that yet."
  6. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    primed, It gets worse than that, those students don't bother to vote.
  7. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I'm teaching an evening remedial algebra class this semester at the University where I worked for 25 years before I retired in 2009. The class is about equivalent to alegbra I in junior high, except that it is covered in one semester rather than a full year. It carries no credit for graduation, and students must pay an extra class fee to take it. Tonight is the end of the third week. Enrollment records show 26 still enrolled in the class, but the last two meetings only about 8 have shown up. I suspect I won't be passing very many students at the end of the course in May.

    I have three sons who all went to the local high school. The oldest probably did get a useful education there, and went on to earn a BA in health education. The younger two pretty much just wasted their time in high school, and were not challenged much at all. It always seemed to me that the school was much more interested in their team sports rather than providing a quality education. The middle son is now in the PhD program at ISU in microbiology, and the younger one will be entering the PhD program in Chinese at Colorado Boulder this fall. I think they would both tell you they got very little benefit from going to high school.

    It's probably not true for all kids, but I suspect a large proportion in public schools are more concerned with social activities than academics, another large proportion have significant home/behavioral problems, and a significant number are bored to tears and not challenged to learn relevant skills. Somewhere in my library I have a mathematics book that my grandmother used in grade school back at the turn of the last century. Its content is far more difficult than anything I've ever seen in schools today. It even covers spherical geometry.
  8. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Guess we could throw more money at it?

    Or how about giving everyone "A"s so they don't lose any self esteem?
  9. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    There is one word the explains the whole issue; "Normalization." If you bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator they are all "NORMAL." Thank you, Lyndon Johnson, 1964.
  10. Dahaub

    Dahaub Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    My take on the kids education today is that if it's important to the parents it seems to make a difference to the kids. There are exceptions to every rule and I know the frustration of someone wanting change and the kids who work at retail should all know how to make it. Some of them struggle and some people actually want to stump those who they think are in that group. I have better things to do with my time than to participate in that endeavor.

    My daughter teaches in a head start program. Her students are four years old. The class size is under twenty students. None of them knew their colors by name, could count to ten, or recite the alphabet when they started in her class. They had zero home training and not much if any home attention. I look at my own grandchildren and at three they knew all of those skills. You get out of education what the parents think is important in my opinion. As I stated before there are exceptions to every situation. Todays young have a long way to go to catch up to the levels of math skills we were taught in grade schools in the fiftys. Dan
  11. Model Number 12

    Model Number 12 TS Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    ctreay-I think that's hillarious. You would think that once a kid was embarressed by their lack of math skills that they would try some self-improvement so that they'd only look stupid once.
  12. Chichay

    Chichay TS Supporters TS Supporters

    May 27, 2007

    Self-improvement requires motivation but there are always those that do not know AND do not care.

  13. Martinpicker

    Martinpicker Active Member

    Jun 28, 2010
    I work at a theme park and recently on a very busy day one of our thirty something middle management people was asked to man a ticket booth. In less than thirty minutes she came on the radio to her boss..."I need tens in booth six." ..dead air..."Kevin, I need some tens in booth six, would you bring me some PLEASE!" a stressed Kevin responded, "I am a little busy right now, Lisa, I will get you the tens as soon as I can get free." Lisa came back on the radio,"You don't seem to understand, I have a line of people waiting and a customer waiting for his change! I need a ten NOW, and I don't have any!" ...dead air... then Kevin asked, "Well, do you have two fives?"..."Yes.....oh yeah....never mind."
    I frequently hear complaints about what is no longer being taught in the public schools. I taught in the public school system of America for 30 years and still keep my hand in as a substitute. Although I agree that there are marked imperfections, think about your local public school as a free buffet lunch. It is all laid out there for the kids, but we can't force them to eat. They have to chew and swallow all by themselves!
  14. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I worked at a full service gas station as a youth, (remember those) I would work an all day shift with a wad of bills in my pocket and a coin changer on my belt. At the end of the shift it was almost always correct to the penny. Unlike today, even the high school drop outs and dumb kids that worked there were expected to do the same. I hire college graduates that cannot do the math even with the electronic cash registers. Houston, we have a problem.....
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