Monday, November 14, 2011

GEOMETRY - November 24, 2011

As we struggle to save the State of Wisconsin from the disaster that is sure to befall it if the Kochs and their hand puppet governor have their way, it is time to consider the likely outcome of the proletarianizing of the teaching profession. In case you have not had occasion to measure, I can vouch for the fact that very few Wisconsin High School graduates have been equipped in the matter of understanding what is going on in mathematics, with a similar notation for physics. Indeed, there are very few teachers in our High Schools who have had any acquaintance with either subject beyond the memorization of a few rules that would enable them to make routine calculations in it, thus qualifying themselves as inferior competitors in carrying out mechanical tasks to the machines widely available. Most egregious is the deficiency in experiencing the process of knowing when a given proposition has been proven. Often fairly talented students in our colleges are prevented from appreciating even the simplest subtleties of formal logic. And as the management of our schools falls increasingly into the hands of administrators and parents who already are handicapped in this way, the ability to hire any of the few available teachers who understand that triumph of human understanding vanishes, and that rules our graduates out of keeping pace with the intellectual accomplishments of the past centuries, and certainly of those now happening. The judgment of who can even teach the material at the High School level falls increasingly to people who do not know it themselves. Almost any teacher might be chosen for that task. And as the profession is made increasingly unattractive by bosses who are themselves ignorant of its subtleties, it will be increasingly difficult to hire the replacements for those who have quit it or been forced out. Governors and Principals who are ignorant of the intellectual achievements that brought us to this time will offer the students increasingly barren educations.

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