Two items of education that I agree with:
- The requirement for learning to handwrite is obsolete. Freakonomics’s episode “Who Needs Handwriting?” asks that very question and finds the answer wanting.
- Dana Goldstein writing for Slate, Down With Algebra II!, (via BoingBoing) discusses thoughts on David Hacker’s book “The Math Myth: and Other STEM Delusions”.
As someone who handwrites all of his notes, I think that learning to have good handwriting is a waste of K-12’s time to have as mandatory. The school mentioned that has moved it to the art department has the right idea.
I’m currently pursuing a science degree and it includes math that I will not ever use in my desired field. Lots of it. In the Slate article Dana includes this passage:
In high school, I found math so indecipherable that I would sometimes cry over my homework.
During my work on pre-calculus, I’ve made the threat to my wife that I’m going to just drop out of school forever if this is the sort of hurdle I have to go over. I’ve done most of my swearing in the last six weeks over this math. And not just because it’s difficult for me, but because I know that I’m learning skills that serve no utility. And I’ve checked with people who are doing the job that I want to do after I get my degree.
Just like the handwriting, like math. And just like handwriting, I’m not skilled at it. The argument that either of these make a more refined, well rounded people may be accurate, but should they be required to get an associates degree? If you want my opinion, I think not.
Add this stuff to the list of things that I think are problems in America’s education system.