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.