Friday, February 17, 2006

What's the derivative of zero?

Institutions founded on principles of egalitarianism founder when it becomes apparent that some people benefit more from that egalitarianism than others. Confronted with the inequity, one solution is to debase the benefits until they are of equally poor value to everyone. From the London Free Press:

Ontario is extending its review of proposed changes to the Grade 12 math curriculum and whether calculus should continue to be included. … [Education Minister Gerard] Kennedy says he's received e-mails and letters from those who want calculus kept in the curriculum and those who say it's too difficult.

A task force will examine senior high school math courses and consult experts to ensure the classes meet the needs of students. It will report back to the minister in late March with its view on how much calculus should be included.
Or, ensure that the distribution of benefits are subject to no more strenuous a standard than mere chance. Also from the Free Press:
Parents of some French immersion pupils are angry the London District Catholic school board has moved to a lottery system to see which kids get into one program. Enrolment in the board's middle immersion program — which starts in Grade 4 — is soaring and parents are fresh from a battle to save the program from being chopped because it has nowhere to expand. But many are upset because a first-come, first-served process to register for the program that takes 60 new students a year has been replaced with the lottery.

The board says the change was made to offer all applicants an equal opportunity.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

I was taught Newtonian Calculus from First Principles at age 13.
I struggled with the usefulness of the concept, but I learned it.
Later I learned to love being able to analyse engineering maths problems from the beginning on up.

My friend's nephew started a Physics undergrad course last year.
He didn't know anything about calculus (Newtonian)from FP.