In a message dated 1/15/99 22:39:41 Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< You see, teaching mathematics (as any other subject) is a bit more complicated than putting some data (the curriculum) into the database (students' brains). The primary goal should be the awakening their minds, the stimulating of their intellectual growth, not just hammering these or that facts into their heads (and the more the better). So the bloated curriculum is terribly harmful, I would compare it to feeding too much rich food to children while not giving them a chance to play. Time is much better spent in teaching the key ideas of the subject by developing in depth a few well chosen topics. Then the students will be able to learn easily the topics not covered. Confucius said that you should not give fish to a poor man, but you should teach him how to fish. This observation applies fully to teaching. >>
<< By letting the students decide too early that they will not need any serious mathematics we allow them not to develop their minds properly, they will stay intellectually crippled forever, being unable to understand any abstract and sometimes even logical reasoning. I think it's a tragedy, not something to be taken lightly. It's like letting young people commit intellectual suicide. >>
I don't think we disagree all that much. My point is that the HS curriculum has too much breadth and no enough depth. That's easy to say, but not that easy to fix precisely because of the problem you cite in the last paragraph quoted above. They are too young to cut off avenues they might later want or need to follow. Hence my possible cynicism: We can only go deeper at the cost of going less wide.