A Salute to K. Harris
Mathematics, long regarded by many people as tedious and no fun at all, is about to become less tedious -- and probably lots of fun. Credit the change to math's new hero: K. Harris, Florida Secretary of State.
Many -- far too many -- schoolchildren agonize over the correctness of their work. This can lead to obsession, compulsion, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and has forced a large proportion of American students to be medicated with Ritalin. The same chain of woes is appearing in other nations.
Now comes an effective, simple solution. K. Harris was given charge of a large exam in her state (there were approximately six million examinees, and a corresponding number of exam graders). Confronted with requests that exam graders be allowed to check their work, Harris issued a firm, teacherly "no."
This decision is an example that others will admire and learn from.
If you have used a calculator, there is no need to check your work. Your answer, if you can give a good explanation for it, is correct. One must move on. Life is too short to spend it agonizing over whether one passed an examination.
Fear of making a math error has paralyzed too many young people, causing them to lose their love of mathematics. Without that fear, students can exult in mathematics. As they take their place in society, it will become ever less fashionable to check one's math. The world will become happier, faster-paced, more care-free.
At last, the unhappy memory of "New Math" will fade. Hooray, instead, for "No Math."
© Copyright 2000 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
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