Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Teaching Maths

A friend has forwarded this to me. It seems a very neat summing-up of the effects of socialistic state education over the years....

1. Teaching Maths In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the price.
What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or £80.
What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is £80.
Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20.
Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2008
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands.
He does this so he can make a profit of £20.
What do you think of this way of making a living?
Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers. )


  1. Yup.

    And of course every summer A-level and GCSE grades soar yet higher and the G deny (angrily) allegations of grade-tinkering.

  2. One of the ex poly's has started a new degree course, eventually leading to a doctorate in turning up.

  3. About three or four years ago, The Spectator reprinted an entrance exam from 1890 for eleven year olds to one of the public (private)schools. It was scary. Even a dinosaur like me would have guessed university level.

    But no matter, just remember that youth today are the most open, tolerant, compassionate and aware generation in history. Repeat three times with increasing indignation.

  4. I know this locates me in time/ space continuim, however.

    Some time in late 60s / early 70s I lived in Stevenage (yes I know, I know, location, location and all that)
    One day frau Malty and I wandered into the town centre, where a crowd of the local peasantry had gathered around a woman standing on a tea chest, wearing a flashers mac and with lank, greasy hair.
    This person was apparently "on the stump, personally I thought she was on a tea chest but who am I to argue.
    Her name I was told, was Shirley Williams, "our" MP.
    "Fuck my old boots" I thought, "she sounds like a toff", frau Malty said.
    We lingered for a while listening to this scruffy posh broad rabbiting on about education and the "downtrodden working class", "shit", I thought, "does she mean us" ?
    It was only years later that I realised that this was the crazy bint who, how can I say this without giving offence,
    fucked up Britains education system so comprehensivly (forgive the pun) that it never, ever recovered.

    Guess where her kids went to school

  5. As a math teacher in upper high school Norway, I have to agree.

    The Norwegian education system has gone down the drain, and the sole responsibility for that is the socialist ideal that the school must be "inclusive", i.e, that first and foremost, no academic standards of any worth is to be met by our pupils.

  6. This apparent dumbing-down only reflects what's been going in corporations as they get bigger and bigger: a parallel inofficial system emerges.

    So, with students, that a parallel learning system develops, where the students with ability learn outside of school hours, and those without, don't.

    In any case official exams primarily provide access to the labour market, and only secondly do they enable learning.

    What really matters is competition between peers, and that's an undocumented format.