Math – The problem isn’t the student


The year – 1952, the place – Chicago (not really, but it sounds good).

At this point math was reason, and it was taught in a sequence which allowed one to follow the trail of cause and effect.  Folks could think with math, use math, solve problems with math and tackle complex issues in business with math.  A good grasp of math got you into college, through college, into business and through life.  With math you could whip the problems of many facetted situations into submission, you could get exterior to it, spot cause and effect and zero in on the solution.

Enter: the Progressive Education Association, with members such as John Dewey, Edward Thorndike (who conducted early behavior experiments on chickens), and Dr. Zeigler, chairman of the Educational Committee of the Council of Foreign Relations.

The stage is set.  The sole work of the group: “to destroy our schools”.  Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt – The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

Dr Zeigler, (quote): “That is what we want… a math the pupils cannot apply to life situations when they get out of school!”  (end quote)

To do so, they threw all reason out and replaced it with memorization.  Further:  definitions were removed, sequences were reversed, and formulae were distilled to the point where the mass they were based on could no longer be discerned.

They recognized how vital math was to survival – and it had to go!

LRH says: “Mathematics, for instance, is a whole body of formalized knowledge, most of it abstract, and every single scrap of it has to do with survival.”  – L. Ron Hubbard, Education & Dianetics

And he was right, for it had everything to do with reason!  The study of it made men and women into rational thinkers.  (Look at the very meaning of ‘rational’ = it can be expressed as a fraction;  it is the relationships of numbers.)

The discipline of math is a training ground for the mind.  The mind learns to think along rational paths, which are codified in laws.

All math  = the logic of problem solving, written in a shorthand notation.

YOU LOSE THAT, AND YOU HAVE LOST THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SUBJECT!  The way math is taught now, you might as well memorize train schedules for all the good it will do you in life!

And you wonder why Johnny isn’t interested?  He’d be nuts if he were!

In 1952 the “New Math” was introduced.  And since then the subject has been butchered a little more each year.  So don’t wonder why Grandpa has an easier time helping Johnny with his homework than you do!  He was taught – you were robbed!

Look what problems this has created!  Far too many people shy away from: making change, figuring a tip for a waitress, doing their own taxes, making investments, they are the effect of credit cards and finance agreements, they don’t understand and so fall victim to bad deals, they avoid jobs which might “give them away” as the dummies they think themselves to be.  It is horrible and painful to see how a whole life can be contorted to avoid the admission that one never understood the subject of math.

Now cut to the year 2010, and Johnny is a good boy.  He works hard, he clears his words and makes his demos, he tries so hard, but somehow he still can’t picture it.  He resorts to memorizing.   His best friend gets wonderful grades; how he wishes he could remember all the rules like Billy does.  But halt!  It gets worse, his supervisor tries to help him, and he refers the student to the  material so carefully crafted to be of no use to him (even the chicken found it so)  Maybe the student has misunderstood words, or maybe it is a skipped gradient…  damn straight it is! It was skipped 50 years ago!

Of course, the sup, himself, is a victim of New Math, and he can’t help him find something he doesn’t even know is missing!     Sound familiar? … material out of order?…  chapters missing?

How much sense does it make to learn multiplication and division of fractions before addition and subtraction?  Yet, every math text since 1952 has it that way.  Maybe Mr. Hubbard’s transcriptionist had a cousin?

You have to read a lot of pre 1950’s math texts to find what is missing.

Trust that we know this, we’ve done it.

Call us about our “Good Old-Fashioned, No-Nonsense, Get-You-Into-College Math Program”.  (You know, the one your Grandpa would recognize)

The problem isn’t the student.

Joke Reeder and Sarah Brauninger