Two items of education that I agree with:

  1. The requirement for learning to handwrite is obsolete. Freakonomics’s episode “Who Needs Handwriting?” asks that very question and finds the answer wanting.
  2. 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.