2 + 2 = Controversy?


Erasing Math Problems

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It’s not 2+2 and let’s have a struggle session over that. That recent quote from Governor DeSantis in explaining why it was that 41% of the state’s public school math books were flagged as being inappropriate, is a) an instant classic and b) instructive for where the train has gone off the tracks in education in our society. The full quote from DeSantis was this: Take the nonsense out of the math books. It’s not 2+2 and let’s have a struggle session over that. Lost in the debate over Florida’s woke math books has been the point about why we have them in the first place. For kids to actually learn math. That’s something the US hasn’t exactly done well in a long time. Since we’re talking math, what percentage of students do you think are proficient for their grade level at math? If you guessed 38%, you’d be correct. And you might ask yourself, if only 38% of students are proficient at math, shouldn’t the focus be on the teaching and learning of math as opposed to say social issues in math class? And here’s some math that even those seeking mathematics struggle sessions can understand. In 1980, the US ranked second in the world in math proficiency. By 2000, we’d fallen to 18th. Most recently we’re 40th – yes 40th in math proficiency. And what’s changed in 40+ years? In 1980, 2+2 was four. By 2000, suggesting 2+2 equaled five could net you partial credit if you wrote the problem out correctly. Today 2+2 could be anything you want it to be because suggesting there’s a correct answer, defined rights and wrongs, could be perceived to be exclusionary – hence the struggle session thing.  


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