Thursday, August 21, 2008

Interview with George Leef .... Excellent

A short excellent interview from EdNews - CLICK HERE

An Interview with George Leef: Math and Common Denominators Michael F. Shaughnessy
Senior Columnist
Eastern New Mexico University

In a recent article posted on this site, George Leef of the Pope Center commented upon the state of math instruction in the U.S. The article can be found at

In this interview, George responds to some questions about certain specific concerns in the realm of math instruction.

1) How does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of math instruction?

The mediocre results of American students on international math tests strongly suggests that teachers here are not as well prepared to teach the subject. It may also indicate that our educational environment is less demanding of the rigor and exactitude that math calls for.

2) Let's face it. To paraphrase a statement by Gavriel Solomon " t.v. watching is easy and math is hard". Does the American culture tend to dislike subjects that require attention, concentration, and dare I say it " frustration tolerance" and patience? Or is this all due to poor math instruction in the elementary grades?

Our culture no doubt plays a role here. Many students grow up with teachers who have been trained to think that feeling good is more important than getting correct answers. Some of the kids who grow up in that culture become teachers and are apt to convey a relaxed if not math-phobic impression to their students.

............There are 11 questions in the complete interview


Anonymous said...

children enjoy watching tv in other countries as much as children in the US and they still do better in math than US students.

Students in other countries using Singapore Math translated in their home language are doing better than students using other textbooks.

The arguments that teachers need more training or that our children are raised to be idiots are absolutely nonsensical. Its easy to point to things which cannot be controlled and ignore the things which offer hope. Let students be the judge of curriculum, not patronizing, luminizing, idol worshippers.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be a relief for most of us, if race wasn't a factor in achievement and it was only sloppy, poorly written textbooks created by thoughtless, insincere, know-nothings?

Anonymous said...

The criticism regarding teacher training is largely unfounded because in every organization (anywhere in the world) you will find experienced teachers, great teachers, lousy teachers, and tired, overworked teachers. Its a common experience for all professions.

I should add that reformers have been criticizing teacher ineptitude since A Nation at Risk was published in 1983. Bush One was VP at the time and don't I remember Reagan announcing early in that election that Bush would never be his running mate for President. Fullboat Bennett ran our schools back then and he's still carrying on.

Now look at how many uneducated rats we have scurrying around running our schools and institutions. Republicans will bite it for good during this election. Its a real shame what's happenned. I'd rather vote third party on this ticket.

If you can nationalize mortgage banks, than why not curriculum. After all both institutions bankrupted our society. They stole our future to make themselves rich. That's why we live in 'barbarian' time, five minutes behind these crooks. Tars and feathers will be monuments for these thieves.

University of Chicago has no business dictating math curriculum or socratic dogma to children. MSU deserves a doghouse for publishing their worthless bs -'success for all' is a fascist, oppressive propaganda that's done nothing but create a society of slaves 'managed' by superstitious, racist premillennial zealots who's institutions are built by pyramiding and backslapping.

Bureaucratic, pedantic upstarts that rely on pseudo-science and decorative credentials to support their stupid, ignorant, prejudicial ideas.