August 4, 2008

A reality TV show I'd watch

A reader writes:

"Hey, why not suggest that the governator & his school board take this algebra test? In public and the results for public consumption?"

I suspect Arnold could walk in and ace the first semester Algebra I questions (he made a lot of money as a contractor and developer before his movie career took off), but would run into some tough sledding on the second semester Algebra I stuff, unless he took time off to bone up on it.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

14 comments:

Sleep said...

I asked a strong Democrat what she thought of this idea and she said it was great that California was so dedicated to educating its children and wondered why all the other states couldn't do the same.

I'm studying to be a math teacher and I should have my certification in three years. Fortunately, I happen to live in that US state which is furthest from California. (Yes, I measured.)

albertosaurus said...

The Muppets TV show for kids had an episode lauding the contributions of Arabs. In the plot there was some problem that led an arabic character to solve the problem with Algebra.

It was a very simple problem to solve with simultaneous equations. Afterall this was a cartoon show for children.

I used to give this problem which I called the Muppets Algbra problem to my undergraduate statistics students.

I never had anyone who could solve it.

BTW algebra was not really invented by arabs. It came from the Diophantine Greeks by way of India.

Anonymous said...

Arnold would never take any test of any sort he was not absolutely prepared for. That's just who he is.

Steve Sailer said...

Right.

He'd get James Cameron to assemble a crack team of tutors for him.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think governors in general would do better than Senators and Reps. By my count there are about 4 US Senators capable of understanding a moderately complicated scientific idea (and one of them, NH's John Sununu, may lose to a cipher of a Democrat this year).

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I got a math degree. I work as a programmer and I rarely use most of what I learned.

'You have to know mathematics', is what they tell kids now. I'd like to see empirical evidence that it would help most students in a practical way (aside from furthering their education) in their future.

You HAD to know Greek and Latin and one point as well. It's not about the subject matter.

Justin Halter said...

Anonymous is correct: even scientists, programmers, and engineers usually don't need math. As a young math teacher, it used to shock me to hear engineer after engineer say the same thing: they don't need math on the job. Math education serves one function: to weed people out.

Mandating math education for the masses is the biggest waste of money in American education (foreign language requirements may be a close second). Sheer lunacy.

The students aren't learning math anyway. We math teachers long ago invented a nifty method to pass the demanded number of students even though they weren't learning the material: the Curve.

These high-stakes, objective, standards-based tests sometimes expose us as the frauds we are. At least until we get ahold of them, and do what we do best: dumb down the material on the test until we reach the acceptable failure rate.

rast said...

Fortunately, I happen to live in that US state which is furthest from California. (Yes, I measured.)

Alaska?

(If I'm wrong, it was because I was left behind in geography)

albertosaurus said...

My bad. It was The Smurfs not The Muppets who telecast the algebra problem.

Ronduck said...

Sleep said...

...Fortunately, I happen to live in that US state which is furthest from California. (Yes, I measured.)

I'm going to guess that you live in Maine, but I could be wrong. No matter where you live idiot liberalism can spread, so be careful with what you say.

Robert said...

I am a programmer with a programming degree. I almost never use math in my work and a rarely have to come up with any programming. Most programming problems that one encounters can be solved by finding functions and code that has already done. They are online and in books and you just have to know where to look.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to "know" maths for a lot of science and engineering, but you have to know how to logically and rigourously think through problems in these fields.

Developing the ability to think abstractly, systematically and even creatively in fields like math and physics helps develop general engineering and science skills.

Now having medical schools require oraganic chemsitry is largely a wate for the vast majority of MDs. However most MD-related undergrad coursework is so easy (biology, chemistry, anatomy, math/physics for non-majors) that organic does serve a useful purpose in discriminating between the less intellectually gifted.

Sleep said...

Yes, Maine narrowly beats the other corner states Alaska, Florida, and Hawaii provided I measure the distance from nearest edge to nearest edge. But Alaska contains areas

In my experience Maine doesn't deserve the stereotype of being "as liberal as Massachusetts, without the minorities". I don't know much about our school system, though ... I didn't grow up here, and I've only done a few days of substitute teaching. I grew up in Massachusetts and attended one of the pilot schools for Feminist Algebra, where a student who wrote a letter threatening to kill a teacher for being a Christian was allowed to stay. Hopefully it isnt like that around here. I would rather teach at a Catholic private school anyway, even though I'm not Catholic.

Truth said...

"The students aren't learning math anyway. We math teachers long ago invented a nifty method to pass the demanded number of students even though they weren't learning the material:..."

The Calculator