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Topic: Reaction to the Galernter Post
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,291
Registered: 12/3/04
Reaction to the Galernter Post
Posted: Oct 1, 1998 1:04 PM
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[Note: I received the following reaction to the Galernter post - I am
sending it on with the permission of Tony Ralston.]
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David,

I have just seen your article in Thursday's New York Post. I am not part
of the educational establishment you flay nor am I a partisan of the
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics with whom I often disagree.
Nevertheless I am appalled at your article which is full of misinformation.

I make three brief points:

1. You say "If you hand a child a calculator, you must take care that it
is used judiciously or the result is catastrophic". Judicious - certainly
but catastrophic? Is there an iota of evidence to support such apocalyptic
language?

2. You say that the proponents of calculator use believe that "To the
extent we allow children to rely on them, teachers needn't waste time on
basic arithmetic". But not only have I never heard this opinion expressed
by anyone who supports calculator use in schools; I don't believe you can
find a "teacher or principal" who espouses this viewpoint.

3. You claim that "when you hand children an automatic, know-it-all crib
sheet, you undermine learning - obviously". You are correct but a
calculator is *not* such a "crib-sheet" if used appropriately in elementary
school mathematics and I know of no one who believes calculators should be
used as "crib sheets".

Tony

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Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)
E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU





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