
Re: A statement on what is wrong with standard calculus
Posted:
Feb 22, 1996 7:26 PM


Neil:
Sorry, for being so cruel  but I have the very strong feeling that it really doesn't much matter for a "nation to thrive in a competitive world out there" how many of its citizens are any good at algebra. I doubt that we mathematicians would feel any better if we found out the truth! As a matter of fact, laziness, the desire to have convenient tools around is a major driving force for innovation. Rather than changing the people (a la socialist reeducation camps), we change the envi ronment in such a way that even without any technical expertise the average citizen can use very sophisticated machinery, from cars to Macinstoshes. If the American citizenry had been too well educated we might have never seen the Macintosh and instead still use the DOSprompt, take squareroots by hand, and enjoy wasting our days with long integrations by parts ....
Aside, I too deplore that I can share my fun with algebra etc. with only so few people  but maybe there are indeed more important things around! Let's stick together and save what we reasonably can save.
Matthias  Begin Included Message  From: nstahl@uwcmail.uwc.edu Date: Thu Feb 22 13:05:10 CST 1996 To: calcreform@emath.ams.org
I'm sorry, but I find the response below too glib. Yes, no doubt some people did pass calculus with poor algebra skills before reform calculus, but many of us tried to * * omitted material * ....... We don't know that a nation with almost no citizens who know algebra well can thrive in the competitive world out there. For instance, we don't know that someone who doesn't know much algebra can learn much science.
 End Included Message 
****************************************************************** Matthias Kawski http://math.la.asu.edu/~kawski/kawski.html Dept. of Mathematics kawski@math.la.asu.edu Arizona State University FAX: (602) 965 3376 Tempe, Arizona 852871804 office: (602) 965 3376 ******************************************************************

