I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

14 August 2011

Coloring and High School Math

I saw this story about Michele Bachmann's public school fears and rolled my eyes until I got to the "legitimate" worries Rep. Bachmann experienced when her high school-age foster children had coloring homework in mathematics.

Then I got a little suspicious.  Whether or not the concern is "legitimate", has anyone ever fact-checked this claim?  It's so easy for reporters to believe whatever they're told about the Lazy Union Parasites at our public schools.

As it ends up, a slightly-filled out version shows up in New Yorker profile.  Now the coloring was "involved" in a math assignment, which is slightly less derogatory: the implication is that it was a portion of the work rather than the sum total of the assignment ("Color this picture of Euclid").

And honestly?  An interesting math project might just involve a little coloring.  Here is a project on color for 6th to 9th grade mathematics.  It covers frequency and wavelength.  Or you can explore the perception of color.  And according to this project, written by a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, "Color is a profound mathematical topic with multi-million-dollar industrial applications."

Anyway, I'm not sure I believe Bachmann at all: I mean, she also believes that I am training tomorrow's Communists for a totalitarian government work system.  But even if I accept her claim that there was some coloring involved in high school math, she hasn't said anything profound about the Shocking Low Standards of America's Public Schools.  And it's a shame that the dread spectre of Crayola, coupled with knee-jerk education reformist impulses in reporters, gets a free pass.

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