Who needs algebra?

So asks Andrew Hacker writing at the NYT when pondering our (national) educational shortcomings:

This debate matters. Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent. In the interest of maintaining rigor, we’re actually depleting our pool of brainpower. I say this as a writer and social scientist whose work relies heavily on the use of numbers. My aim is not to spare students from a difficult subject, but to call attention to the real problems we are causing by misdirecting precious resources.

The toll mathematics takes begins early. To our nation’s shame, one in four ninth graders fail to finish high school. In South Carolina, 34 percent fell away in 2008-9, according to national data released last year; for Nevada, it was 45 percent. Most of the educators I’ve talked with cite algebra as the major academic reason.

Shirley Bagwell, a longtime Tennessee teacher, warns that “to expect all students to master algebra will cause more students to drop out.” For those who stay in school, there are often “exit exams,” almost all of which contain an algebra component. In Oklahoma, 33 percent failed to pass last year, as did 35 percent in West Virginia.

Love the last quote from a teacher. We can’t teach this skill so let’s just get rid of it, thus preventing more kids from dropping out. Rather than solving the problem (the lack of skill addressed at an earlier grade level when kids are then just passed on like chattel to the next grade without necessarily mastering the skills necessary), let’s … um, get rid of it! That’s the solution!

Pathetic.

Hacker points out the need for solid basic math skills. I agree. But that’s lost in today’s education system as well. And next we’ll be told that it’s not necessary, either.

Short shrift

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But what do we expect?

What struck me most about this display in Crystal City was that it counters reality. Romney bests Obama in height, which is, after all a historical predictor of who will win the race. But we can’t have Obama looking small and petty, can we? He manages quite well on his own.

Laundry

I’ve followed the news of late, but not much has compelled me to post. I’d rather change diapers than comment on Obama et al these days. And the news from my home state of Colorado this weekend saddened me beyond words. So did this heartbreak.

This, however, caught my eye this morning.

Via Bryan Preston, witness change:

It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

The results highlight the reelection challenge Obama faces amid dissatisfaction with his first-term performance on the economy.

The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy, while six percent said they were not sure.

Indeed.

Moving along, also from Mr. Preston who has kept me entertained in late-night nursing sessions, this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heh. Obama owns this economy.

 

 

In the mail: “A new law affects your family’s military health benefit.”

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Wonder what new law that could be, eh? “If you like your plan you can keep it,” they said. But no changes allowed, forevermore.

Married and not

The result of the sexual revolution and feminism: the marrieds and the nots. The gulf between the two widens:

Forget class warfare and the fight over who earns too much and who earns too little. The new battleground pits married voters against unmarried voters. According to a new Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, married voters favor Romney 51-38 percent, while single voters back Obama 54-34 percent. This gap means a lot more than votes in November. It reflects a fundamental social change in a society that no longer shares common cultural values.

At the top of the list is a steep decline in the marriage rate.  Who cares, you may ask.  Answer: children.  In 2009 alone, a whopping 41 percent of babies were born to single moms, according to the National Vital Statistics Report.  Median income for single mother families is only one third the median for married couple families. Census Bureau data shows the average median net worth of married households is seven times the wealth of unmarried households.

41 percent. What happens when the majority of children are born out of wedlock? When kids in institutional schools are by and large the product of single households? Will homeschoolers be singled out as the product of married-only culture?

Romney made waves last week when he stated fact:

I’m hopeful that together we can set a new direction, starting where many of our problems do — with the family. A study from the Brookings Institution has shown that for those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job and wait until 21 before they marry and then have their first child, the probability of being poor is 2 percent. And if those factors are absent, the probability of being poor is 76 percent.

There’s a stark difference between 2% and 76%. Like the difference between having children when married and not.

A new urgency for Obama

Not to lead, but to fundraise. From The Hill:

A new urgency has swept into President Obama’s campaign as disappointing fundraising numbers have emerged alongside the shaky economy as a major threat to his prospects for reelection.

While the president’s aides originally maintained they wouldn’t be moving from “zero to 60” when they launched their campaign in May, now, with less than four months until Election Day, it appears they’re pushing down harder on the pedal.

Priorities, y’all.

H/t: HA headlines

Thank you!

For the well wishes and congratulations! pjBaby arrived last week, and I must say we are smitten. He’s pretty mellow, and that’s quite a contrast with pjKid, so we are relatively well rested.

After my hospital stay, with excellent care from docs and nurses alike, this from Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler intrigued me. Via the Doctor Patient Medical Association, 83% of docs have considered quitting because of Obamacare:

  • 90% say the medical system is on the WRONG TRACK
  • 83% say they are thinking about QUITTING
  • 61% say the system challenges their ETHICS
  • 85% say the patient-physician relationship is in a TAILSPIN
  • 65% say GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT is most to blame for current problems
  • 72% say individual insurance mandate will NOT result in improved access care
  • 49% say they will STOP accepting Medicaid patients
  • 74% say they will STOP ACCEPTING Medicare patients, or leave Medicare completely
  • 52% say they would rather treat some Medicaid/Medicare patient for FREE
  • 57% give the AMA a FAILING GRADE representing them
  • 1 out of 3 doctors is HESITANT to voice their opinion
  • 2 out of 3 say they are JUST SQUEAKING BY OR IN THE RED financially
  • 95% say private practice is losing out to CORPORATE MEDICINE
  • 80% say DOCTORS/MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS are most likely to help solve things
  • 70% say REDUCING GOVERNMENT would be single best fix.

Sounds like docs are all willing to go Galt. Sounds like we need a doctor in the family to provide our own medical care.

PJ Baby Has Arrived!

PJ Baby Has Arrived!

PJ Family is doing well.

Well, I guess that’s a good thing then

Out of office for a bit. According to Instapundit, it’s all for a good cause!

Teachingmytwo will hold the fort.

“One for the team”

Another excellent Bill Whittle video to enjoy this 4th. It’s hard for me to celebrate our “independence” when it feels like we’re so … dependent and growing moreso by the day. Trying to explain the holiday to an astute 4 year-old only compounded my mixed feelings in the aftermath of the SCOTUS Obamacare decision.

H/t: Hot Air

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