Math – The Student is NOT the Problem

The year – 1928.  The place – Chicago (not really, but it sounds good). 

At this point math was reason, and it was taught in a sequence which allowed the student 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 them, 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”. (See “the deliberate dumbing down of america” by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt.)

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

To do so, the good doctor 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!

L. Ron Hubbard, educator, 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 and Dianetics. Nov.1950 

And he was right, for it had everything to do with reason!  The study of it made men and women into rational thinkers.  Being able to think with the relationships of numbers became our word for “sane”.  “Rational” (adj.)  expressed as a fraction – in other words: the relationship 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 and making investments. They are the effect of credit card and finance agreements, they don’t understand them 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 demonstrations, 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 chickens found it so). “Maybe the student has misunderstood words”, he wonders, or “maybe it is a skipped gradient…”  Damn straight it is! It was skipped 50 years ago!

Of course, the sup is himself a victim of New Math, and so he can’t help the student find something he doesn’t 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.

You have to read a lot of pre-1950s math texts to find the omitted data and restore the logical sequences.

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 student is not the problem.

Joke Reeder and Sarah Brauninger


(excerpts from Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt)

A deliberate math ‘dumb down” was seriously discussed in 1928. A teacher named O. A. Nelson , John Dewey, Edward Thorndike (who conducted early behavior psychology experiments with chickens) and other Council on Foreign Relations members attended a Progressive Education Association meeting in 1928, this is Nelson’s report of that meeting:

“I know from personal experience what I am talking about. 

“In December, 1928, I was asked to talk to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. On December 27th, naive and inexperienced, I agreed. I had done some special work in teaching functional physics in high school. That was to be my topic. The next day, the 28th, a Dr. Zeigler asked me if I would attend a special educational meeting in his room after the AAAS meeting. We met from 10pm until after 2:30 a.m. 

“We were 13 at the meeting. Two things caused Dr. Zeigler who was the Chairman of the Educational Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations, to attend. My talk on the teaching of functional physics in high school, and the fact that I was a member of a group known as the Progressive Educators of America, which was nothing but a Communist front. I thought the word “progressive” meant progress for better schools. Eleven of those attending the meeting were leaders in education. Drs. John Dewey and Edward Thorndike, from Columbia University, were there, and the others were of equal rank. I checked later and found that ALL were paid members of the Communist Party of Russia. I was classified as a member of the Party but I did not know it at the time. 

“The sole work of the group was to destroy our schools! We spent one hour and forty-five minutes discussing the so-called “Modern Math”. At one point I objected because there was too much memory work, and math is reasoning; not memory. Dr. Zeigler turned to me and said, “Nelson, wake up! That is what we want…. a math that the pupils cannot apply to life situations when they get out of school!” 

“That math was not introduced until much later, as those present thought it was too radical a change. A milder course by Dr. Breckner was substituted but it was also worthless, as far as understanding math was concerned. the radical change was introduced in 1952. It was the one we are using now. So, if pupils come out of high school now, not knowing any math, don’t blame them. The results are supposed to be worthless.”

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