Saturday, April 05, 2008

National Math Standards?

The idea might sound attractive at first blush, but consider the dampening effect of a one-size-fits-all curriculum, when it comes to experimentation and innovation, learning from others' mistakes.

As a Quaker, I've learned from my elders that "knowing experimentally" is a key way we know. We need to tentatively feel our way ahead by trial and error, not in response to some edict from on high.

The freedom to forge our own way as a faculty is therefore a cornerstone liberty. That doesn't mean we reinvent every wheel. But neither do we allow just any wheel to be imposed by outsiders. We're very selective in what we import.

Making every teacher teach to the same set of tests is potentially another form of tyranny, a practice worth of subverting, should the source of those tests itself not pass muster in some critical way.

Any mention of MITEs, A & B modules? We American Transcendentalists have a right to at least ask. As a tiny minority we have our heritage to preserve, our children to look after.

Shouldn't our tax dollars count for something? Why must any family living in a geodesic dome almost by definition have to home school, because our geodesic math is precluded from ever propagating widely under our current form of idiocracy?

If we all make the same mistakes, redundantly, we've imperiled our overall efficiency as a nation. What happened to states' rights and every state is a laboratory?

Concentrating control over curriculum standards should be a right winger's worst nightmare (another government gone crazy, control freaking out). So is it we liberals who're clamoring for 'em? Not me.

Why should bureaucrats in Washington D.C. busy themselves with math teaching as one of their special jurisdictions? No founding document gives 'em such responsibility or authority.

Thinking every kid should be on the same page on the same day, within some state approved curriculum, is holdover clock fetish aesthetics, a degraded form of Taylorism, nothing to
celebrate from a contemporary management perspective.

Let's not even start down that path, OK?

Some comments @ Math Forum (April 6, 2008)