On international tests, American kids score very well in reading and very badly at math.


My hypothesis: We de-emphasize math because we treat it as an IQ test, instead of a skill that anyone can learn.
I am not worried about top-end math education. Top students will find a way to learn.

I am worried about average students' math education. These are the students whose parents have not prepared them as much. But they have plenty ability to do math!!

Everyone is arguing about tracking tracking tracking. Excellence vs. equity, blah blah blah.

No one seems to be talking about expecting the average student to learn more math!

I am not worried about "gifted" kids' math education. Gifted kids are well-prepared by their parents and will find ways to learn. I learned calc from a textbook and slept through the class. Whatever.

I'm worried about the AVERAGE student, whose parents don't prepare them!!
The reason things like this worry me is NOT because I think we're entering some Harrison Bergeron world where the top kids won't get a chance to shine.

It's because I worry that we're canceling math classes for the AVERAGE student.

I'm worried that when educators want to cut math classes out of a concern for "equity", that what they really think is that average students are uneducable and don't have the natural IQ to do basic math.

Which I view as BULLSHIT.
If American kids can learn to READ better than Swiss or Danish or Taiwanese or Japanese or Norwegian or German kids, they can learn to do MATH too!

American kids can do a lot better at math than they're doing, because they're already excellent at reading.
My anger at education documents that try to de-emphasize math is not part of some right-wing moral panic about equity.

In fact, I believe that believing and investing in the average American kid's ability to learn more and better math will ENHANCE equity.
It all comes back to the fact that Americans think math is an IQ test.

It is not. It's a skill anyone can learn, like reading.

And if we treated it as such, we'd have a more capable, better-prepared workforce. A workforce able to "run the fabs".



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More from @Noahpinion

6 May
The purpose of making noise about China's increased desire and capability to invade Taiwan is to strengthen deterrence and avert a war.

Articles like this assume that the traditional strategic ambiguity provides enough deterrence. Is that a good assumption? 🤔
The big danger here, as I see it, is not "too much deterrence will make China attack". Don't think that has ever been how deterrence works.

Instead the danger seems like "too much ambiguity will tempt China into attacking, then we find ourselves in World War 3".
This sums it up very well.

Ambiguity is what leads to miscalculation. Miscalculation is what leads to war.

Read 4 tweets
6 May
Remember, most of these estimates saying capital gains tax won't raise much revenue are probably very wrong, as @omzidar et al. explain in a recent paper!

And the belief that capital gains taxes are the worst kind of taxes is based on incorrect interpretations of theories that are themselves highly questionable!


Remember that when we tried cutting dividend taxes (another capital tax), it didn't boost real business investment at all!


Read 4 tweets
1 May
Sometimes research tells us things we don't like to hear.

That's not a good reason to suppress the publication of that research.
The paper in question found that when people's parents are imprisoned, their children do better along some dimensions.

That's obviously not a conclusion I want to hear. But science means we can't shy away from unpleasant conclusions.

We need research to tell us how the world really works. Suppressing results for ideological reasons doesn't just damage the credibility of the scientific process; it leaves us less capable of actually making the world better.
Read 6 tweets
1 May
1/Let's have a little chat about capital gains taxes, shall we?

Biden wants to raise capital gains taxes for high-income people. This is a good move.

2/The first good thing about capital gains taxes -- as opposed to corporate taxes or payroll taxes or sales taxes -- is that you can make them very progressive, so they mostly tax high earners.

Biden wants to do exactly this.
3/The second good thing about capital gains taxes is that they won't throw the country back into recession.

Capital gains taxes are macroeconomically safer than most other kinds of taxes.
Read 10 tweets
30 Apr
Listening to @rauchway's "Why the New Deal Matters", I' once again struck by FDR's characterization of democracy not simply as a procedure for electing leaders, but as a deep and pervasive ideology that could and should define all aspects of society.

This is something I think we've lost, and need to regain: Democracy as a way of life, not just a process of elections. Democracy in social relations, democracy in business, democracy in culture.
FDR also believed that democracy was the only ideology that could stand up to fascism and make a better world. He was right. Communism, despite its battlefield victories in WW2, ended up looking much like fascism after a while. Democracy, in contrast, built a better world.
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
War durations:

Seven Years' War: 7 years ✅

Nine Years' War: 9 years ✅

Thirty Years' War: 30 years ✅

Hundred Years' War: 116 years ❌
Eighty Years' War: 80 years ✅
6 Day War: 6 days ✅
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