On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 5:45 AM, Robert Hansen <email@example.com> wrote: > > > On Mar 28, 2013, at 1:43 AM, Joe Niederberger <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > Neither party knew f&ck about exp as far as I can tell. > > > Maybe they learned about exp from Desmos. :) > > It isn't just banks, it is everywhere. I shouldn't complain I guess, because it means that if you are technically savvy in these things, you are in demand. You and the green card holders. > > Bob Hansen
... which brings up the fact that, actually, there are very strong disincentives to having a population knowing math too well.
In the dark ages, the church bureaucrats did everyone's taxes and executed people's wills, kept the books for everyone. Copernicus, a church functionary, had a job like this, even while he worked in the background on dogma-overturning ideas.
With Liber Abaci and the spread of numerical algorithms based on Great Wisdom School technology [tm], courtesy of Al Khwarizmi & Co, those lowly dependents, those worshipful sheep, started getting it into their heads they could do their own bookkeeping. The church rightly saw this as a threat to its temporal authority and for awhile meted out severe penalties to any caught using "cyphers" (the zero and all that).
I think in our own day it's somewhat similar. We're awash in a wealth of powerful free tools (open source this and open source that, cheap hardware) but the front line teachers, who don't know how to use them, are disincentivized, as are school admins. We don't need a lot of "hackers" in this world, and isn't it entirely convenient that what's on those standardized tests is so time consuming to teach that there just isn't time in the day for that much needed overhaul (except maybe in bottom-of-the-TIMMS South Africa where there's more of a "nothing to lose lets try stuff" attitude).
Case in point (I was telling this story again last night). The police out in West Precinct Hillsboro, home to many a high tech company, were being asked by the schools to come in and give badass lectures to the kids about the evils of downloading / pirating on computer. The police were supposed to threaten them with jail if they were caught using Napster or whatever (this was awhile back).
Then one day a light went on in West Precinct when the police themselves understood about open source, and that all these poor kids could actually be reveling in free assets completely legally. They felt like dupes. They were angry the schools were using them. They set up their own Linux labs and invited kids to come play. Why? Better these poor Latino immigrants have their American dreams fulfilled than be left to languish, which is what the schools were doing to them.
Problem: kids are afraid of police, don't see them as teachers, and they had a hard time adjusting their perspective. It was a bold experiment anyway. And an eyeopener for me. I learned to see school more the way police see it: a kind of proto prison where kids learn a lot of bad habits and dumb ways of acting out, often in protest against an oppressive adult world that has no use for them.
Yes, there are stellar teachers and great schools, but when you add it all up and divide, the average is very disappointing to a huge number. Easy to want to fight the status quo then, and teach 'em exp really well (outside the school building, where the bureaucrats can't meddle as easily and apply the brakes the way they do).
Those interested in education reform need to study the ways schools actively hold students back. We need to remind ourselves that school is primarily about netting incomes to adults, just as prisons provide lots of jobs for guards and other support staff. For-profit prisons also help feed shareholders. Getting a percentage of school kids prepped for prison is a core function of the US education system, given the importance of prisons to the GDP.