Warning to Parents: Are Your Public School Children Really Learning Math

Public School teachers are under ever increasing pressure to have students perform well on mandated standardized tests. As such, many are taking short cuts to try and improve scores. One of the most devastating of these shortcuts is teaching students how to use a calculator to solve math functions. With this, students are being taught calculators, and not being taught math. Watch the video, and let me know your thoughts.

3 thoughts on “Warning to Parents: Are Your Public School Children Really Learning Math”

  1. Dear Mr. Paul McWhorter,

    First of all, my name is Eric and of 40 years of age. I would like to think you for your Arduino Uno lessons. They are very well explained and I’m learning a lot from your videos. Since I recently purchased one, I needed someone such as yourself to help explain how to write code to and how to set it up. So, through my wanting to understand knowledge for programming the Adruino, and you providing lessons, has brought me here.
    Anyway, to stay on topic about if children are learning Math in public schools or anything for that matter.
    At a young age I was told I had ADHD and placed into Special Education classes and also given prescription for Ritalin to keep me “focused” on my assignments. Of course I got good grades in most assignments at school- I was high as a kite on that prescription I didn’t feel bored in class! The thing was, I felt like a zombie each night trying to do homework so, I was totally burned out each day, sat for hours and hours while my homework was placed in front of me. Dinner would come and go and I’d still have not done my homework. I just didn’t have the energy to complete homework. That’s where my grades were not up to par up to jr. high school until I was taken off that prescription.

    In high school I was still in Special Education classes. Fortunately because of this situation, we had a substitute teacher who, come to find out, was a neighbour of mine and my older brother was friends of his son. I didn’t realize he was the father of my brother’s friend until I went to their house and taken inside the house to meet the family. Needless to say, my substitute teacher became my mentor and we became great friends.
    A few years ago in 2011 he published a book called “Public Education and our Government Schools” in which he explains why children are failing in schools- or rather schools are failing children.
    Mr. Paul McWhorter, your concern in this video “Are Your Children Really Being Taught Math in School.” I hope you will find an answer in my friend’s book. It’s published and available on amazon and other places. Even so, I’m sure what you find inside will only lead you to more questions.


  2. You got a serious point to address. I am from southeast asia where math education rules early childhood schooling. My son goes to kindergarten and my wife teaches highschool STEM. So get both the perspectives from my son and my wife. My son is way ahead of his class along with another kid (only one in a class of 24). The kindergarten teaches at at level that should be covered at home in preschool. So, the kids really do get a bad start. No wonder situation is much worse in highschool. After learning to use their calculators, they found them clueless for the simplest of algebra or geometry. It boggles me how and where we are spending our tax dollars in the name of STEM education. I think we should all step back a bit from technology and go back to the basics. Bring back the times tables, as a first step.

  3. When I attended highschool, my father bought a SR 56 from Texas Instruments for my brother, my sister and me. We thought it was fantastic, trigonometric functions etc.
    We thought it would be even more cool, if some day it would be possible to solve integration and differention problems.
    I’m sure that some – maybe a lot – will say this is just an old man fighting the progress and unwilling to embrace new achievements within calculator technology.

    However, I totally agree with you.

    My daughter is attending highschool, and she is using the TI Nspire program. Yes, it can do many wonderful things, so what is wrong?
    As you pointed out in your video, the students do not develop the fundamental understanding of math. Math is about applying your logic thinking ablity to determine whether something is true or false. The calculator does not develop this ability.
    It is like placing an able person in a wheel chair – if the person has been sitting in the wheel chair for a year or so, he or she will not be able to walk no more.
    I have spent many hours sitting with my son and now with my daughter – just with pencil and paper – to learn them to appriciate be beauty of math.
    We have had this math discussion in the Danish journal “The engineer”, and a majority shared your (our) views.
    BTW, thanks a lot for your lessons – somebody ought to give you a medal!

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