Math celebrities

Why Nate Silver Can Save Math Education in America

I heard somewhere that Nate Silver is thinking of analyzing teacher assessment at some point.  It’s a big problem, there’s no definitive answer, and there’s lots of data (though since most of it is standardized test scores, I find much of it questionable).  Sounds like a place he can have fun.

That’s not what this article is about.

This article is about having math superstars being rolemodels for kids, to answer their questions of, “when am I ever going to use this?”  I feel this is treating the symptoms rather than the disease.  If math was taught as a way to solve problems and explore the world around us — as opposed to drilling computations — students’ curiosity will be a natural source of motivation.  “I want to understand” is a better driver than “I want to be a celebrity.”

The article’s secondary point, that the current curriculum sorely lacking in some departments (like statistics and finance), is something I agree with.

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