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Topic: Why Do Americans Stink at Math? Some of the Answer.
Replies: 7   Last Post: Aug 27, 2014 11:49 PM

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kirby urner

Posts: 3,690
Registered: 11/29/05
Re: Why Do Americans Stink at Math? Some of the Answer.
Posted: Aug 21, 2014 10:30 AM
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On Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 9:32 PM, GS Chandy <> wrote:

> "Why Do Americans Stink at Math?"
> Here is something that could lead to the whole answer:

How does OPMS and GST[a] more generally recognize a bogus question, versus
encouraging lengthy analysis of something that's just wrong?

For example, this claim that Americans stink at math: for rhetorical
purposes and to feed the debates, I'm all in favor of launching such
resolutions within the mix, but should it be treated as a claim of fact as

Remember that Keith Devlin and some cronies have redefined "math" within
STEM to mean something more like "bees do it, birds do it" i.e. creatures
such as the helmet crab are endowed with high level mathematical algorithms
running all on their own, and who are we to say nature's computer is
inferior to ours, embedded as it is within her matrix?

Philosophically, in other words, we may distance ourselves from PISA (good
pun) and TIMMS scores (dots on a graph) and start asking ourselves some
better questions that don't rely on input from these musty-dusty figments
from the 1900s, the "unbelievable century" (in terms of how long people
took to make intelligent use of their new toyz 'n etoyz, still "playin'
those war games forever..." [a John Lennon allusion you might not pick up
way out there in India]).

Anyway, I digress. My main question is: as an avatar of the OPMS
application of GST principles, how do you advertise its merits by not
engaging in useless wheel spinning, like a truck in the mud just digging
itself in deeper in muddy weather, versus applying STEM principles to get
free? How do you gain traction? How do you recognize a monkey-wrench
question designed to disrupt and distract board room proceedings, versus a
question the board will find more nurturing in the long term? How do
directors benefit? Where might you apply these skills in show business?

My own answer to this question would be along the lines of "GIGO" i.e. if
you have no domain knowledge, don't expect waltzing into a technical field
such as medicine, OPMS in hand, is going to get you very far if you've done
no homework. There's no "magic ladder" that makes you the boss of a
situation just because you have some techniques, but no experience in the
realm. Getting sea legs in whatever namespace takes time and dedication.

However, if you *do* have a lot of experience, that's another matter, and a
single page memorandum-based style of management may suit you (Donald
Rumsfeld, probably not one of your heroes, was possibly a proto OPMS user),
in your respective domain(s).

That was my segue to Pentagon Math, another meme related to NCLB Polynomial
and Polyhedron.

The common thread here is Phi, not Pi, and some pronounce it Fee as in FEE
Fie Fo Fum, and others say Fie, as in Fee FIE Fo Fum. I tend to be in the
latter camp.

Then there's the camp that says Tau, which I reserve for Phi's reciprocal.

Fortunately, a language as universal as mathematics doesn't really need us
to resolve these local namespace issues to advance more globally. We're
kinda lucky that way.

In sum: OPMS / GST[a] is only as good a tool as the tool user makes it.

Your goal would be to find prodigies who you might circle as role models,
such as Donalds Rumsfeld and/or Sutherland, should either prove worthy i.e.
should your criteria apply.

Donald Sutherland is an actor.

What actors (a gender-neutral term) do you associate with GST? This is a
question to meditate on, not answer immediately, if at all (what we Quakers
call a query, a way of uncorking thinking from its bottle, more than caring
exactly what flows out at first -- just get thoughts flowing, that's the
main thing).


> Because many of the people who could make a change (the 'stakeholders')
> waste their energies in empty sloganeering instead of putting their good
> ideas to work, in practice, on the ground for a worthy purpose. Here are
> some of the empty slogans we've seen:
> - -- "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!' (Haim, who is alas no longer with
> us)
> - -- "BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION!" (Wayne Bishop, who has taken upo
> as his life's work this explosive slogan passed on to him by Reid Lyon,
> Reading Research Expert)
> - -- "Children must be PUSHED or GOADED to learn math!" (and doubtless
> everything else) [Robert Hansen's inspiring slogan]
> It really shouldn't take longer than a year or two to set the whole
> educational system on the path to curing its ills, if only the stakeholders
> would learn how to put their good ideas together.
> As a matter of fact, 'Americans' do not stink all that much at all,
> though they are by no means anywhere near as good as they could and should
> be. Are they at all en route to improving their mathematical 'prowess'??
> not at all; it's still the slogans that occupy their minds most of the
> time, engage most of their energies, alas.
> ("Still Shoveling! Not PUSHING!! Not GOADING!!!")

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