15 January 2011

The problem with public education (courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes)

As illustrated about, public education too often elevates the topics being taught to a level similar to religion. Students aren't expected to understand them so much as they're required to accept it as fact and memorize how to use them. Math, for instance, is a prime example of this. After however many years of math classes, I can use what I've been taught to solve the problems I'm given, but I have no understanding of why. Mathematical concepts are elevated to a higher level that, based on how I've seen math taught, we have no hope of understanding. I've had one teacher who has been the exception to this rule, but other than that, they've all merely provided the basic information needed to complete a long list of problems and then moved on to the next chapter. All my years of math classes can be summed up by memorizing certain equations, and recognizing when to use them.