Friday, September 07, 2007

More from the Podium

I was somewhat dismayed by the Ralph P. Boas essay.

His sounds like a very insular discipline that is used to monopoly powers, and is therefore corrupt.

Where is the competition for mind share one would expect in a healthy, vital, intelligent economy?

Why should mathematics teachers be exempted from the need to prove relevance, when it's the future survival skills of our children that we're talking about?

I think Haim's solution (to make the commons a mere basic-level sandbox for learning harmless FRP stuff, then taking a sink-or-swim attitude, with stronger families supplementing like crazy from within their religious traditions or whatever) is unnecessarily cruel to those without strong and supportive families (often because of violent upheavals and/or diasporas they had no hand in creating).

Given the Internet, it's pretty inexpensive for Uncle Sam, in collaboration with MIT and places like that, to put state of the art curriculum within the reach of all netizens. No mass publishing, few billboards. Tax paying voters take notice and reward the politicians who apparently have a hand in this Renaissance ("which one is Cicero?" -- confused student whisper).

I'm just glad those bad old days, when mathematicians felt their discipline unchallenged, are pretty much over. We're back to the original design, of the trivium-quadrivium, with philosophy back in the saddle ("'Yee haw' and all that rot, what?" -- UKer with pipe).

Back to work...