Sunday, March 27, 2005

Why urban public schools don't work -- part II for the week.
Fuzzy Math

[New York] City Department of Education booklets designed to train teachers how to prepare students for math tests are riddled with incorrect answers ...

"Children would get flunked for making these kinds of errors," said Jane Hirschmann, of Time Out From Testing. "The Department of Education has to be held to the same standards."

Perhaps the most embarrassing error is on the cover of the booklet for the fourth grade — make that the "forth grade." That's how educrats in the department's division of mathematics spelled it...

So a mathematician would know that 15+10=25, right? Apparently not.

An algebraic equation in the booklet for seventh-grade teachers uses variables, to ask, in essence, what 15+10 equals — but gives the correct answer as 24. In fact, 25 is not even among the four multiple-choice answers.

As if that isn't bad enough, the very next question insists the correct answer to another algebraic equation is 0=6...
[NY Post]
Not to worry, though, the problem has been identified. And no, it's not that the school system has high-paid innumerates writing math instruction manuals. It was ... a negligent fact checker!
School officials scapegoated blamed the mistakes on an ineffective fact-checker. "We have a clear protocol for review of all materials," Carmen Farina, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, said in a statement. "In this case, a member of my staff inexcusably failed to follow our protocol, and I have written a letter of reprimand to the person's file." [WINS]
Well, a letter in a file will take care of everything.

Yes, the NYC Department of Education actually employs fact checkers to assure that its math instructors spell "four" correctly, and know that 15+10 = ... er ... 25!

But not sufficiently skilled fact checkers. Obviously, for that, the school system needs more money!

But does it perhaps make you wonder how those math manual writers managed to pass their own tests? (And, when they think 0=6, how they keep their jobs?)