Re: ECON: Lack of skilled people in the USA

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 31 2001 - 02:30:25 MST

Spike Jones wrote:

> This is an area that has long been debated. Schools are being
> required to teach additional skills in addition to the ones taught 30
> yrs ago, such as computer competency. The total amount of
> time in class has not changed. So what should be dropped off
> of the curriculum? The most common thing has been math
> skills, with the notion that having computer skills will somehow
> compensate for the loss. What isnt fully understood is that the
> study of mathematics trains the mind in logic and clear thinking.

That would be extremely short sighted considering that no other skills
seem as tightly correlated with programming skills as math skills. I
can see there isn't a lot of need any more to know how to do long
division with pencil and paper or extrapolate logs from printed tables.
But understanding mathematical reasoning and algebraic manipulations and
concepts is crucial to really understanding much of anything in science
including understanding computer science and even computer languages.

But then school almost invariably taught math as a black box where you
plug problems into a formula that works for some unknown reason and
churn out answers. Relatively rarely is enough to really understand
taught. I suppose I should be surprised that they teach computers and
programming the same way.

But damn if it doesn't tick me off! It made me mad when I was in high
school. I watched people's minds getting shut down. Needlessly.

Maybe I will have to do some teaching.

- samantha

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