Here's an interesting article in The Washington Post. Here is the comment I left in response: I would like to add one other thought about the problem of core curriculum and pressuring everyone to learn math that they have trouble learning and do not need, and that is the harm it actually does to children. I happened to have been gifted in mathematics but am awful in carpentry and auto repair. My elementary school diagramas were pathetic, and I barely managed my cub scout whittling requirement. The fact that we had a simpler math curriculum when I was a child, did not keep me from learning higher mathematics, which was my major, when I went to college. I believe it would have been an assault to my self-esteem to have been forced through school to take shop classes beyond the few they gave me in high school. The reality is that everyone needs some knowledge in math to handle everyday life, just as it helps me to be able to do some minor home repairs (I can change light bulbs) without calling a repairman. Obviously, students need access to whatever math information they are going to need for daily life, that coincides with their interests, and that fosters the talents they naturally have. But constant pressure to do things one does not do well breeds anxiety and avoidance, and acting out behavior. We actually breed dysfunctional children by dominating their days and their evenings with things they don’t do well, while leaving them little time to nurture the things they do well, even if they are not things that are taught in school. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. www.thehomeworktrap.com.
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