Are We Losing the War for Innovation? (Part I)

by Lee Gesmer on June 2, 2006

What I’m Reading. Some interesting thoughts on American education (or the decline and fall of same) by blogger Bob Kronish [link]

This opening anecdote/joke on the evolution of teaching math since 1950 will give you a sense of his point of view:

Here is how it progresses: Teaching math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5th of the price. What is his profit? Teaching math in 1960: a logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. What is his profit? Teaching math in 1970: a logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit? Teaching math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment-underline the number 20. Teaching math in 1990: A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation or our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question-how did the birds and animals feel as the logger cut down their homes? There are no wrong answers. Teaching math in 2006: Un ranchero vende una carretera de Madera por $100. El cuesto do la produccion era $80. Cuantos tortillas se puede compar?”

Link to the full entry, and read on ….

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