Aug 29 2013

Does Beck Even Read The Blaze?

For the third time, Right Wing Watch has caught a contradiction between what is said on Glenn Beck’s TV show and what it says on his website. This time it came from David Barton, who guest hosted for Beck and repeated this suddenly popular new meme on the right that the Common Core standards will allow kids to say that 3×4 = 11. A dishonestly edited video is rocketing around the right wing blogosphere on this and Barton is pushing it as hard as he can. But Beck’s own website has already debunked this:

The truncated clip features August’s statement: “But even under the new Common Core if even if they said 3 x 4 was 11, if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer, really in words and oral explanations and they showed it in a picture but they just got the final number wrong? We’re more focusing on the how and the why.”

An audience member then asks whether students will be corrected for giving the wrong answer.

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We want our students to compute correctly. But the emphasis is really moving more towards the explanation, and the how, and the why, and can I really talk through the procedures that I went through to get this answer — and not just knowing that it’s 12, but why is it 12? How do I know that?” August replies.

A fuller video of the forum, however, reveals that August said first students should certainly know that 3 x 4 equals 12.

Ironically, the slogan of Beck’s network is “Truth Lives Here.”

1. 1
Doug Little

With all the abuses of science on the right I would have thought that 3 x 4 = 11 would be a good thing for them. I do like the idea of teaching kids the underlying methodology of mathematics rather than just rote learning though.

2. 2
Synfandel

Wouldn’t 11 be a conservative solution to 3 x 4?

3. 3
unbound

Title is incorrect. Should be revised to read “Does Beck Even Know How To Read?”

4. 4
Ace of Sevens

3×4=11 for low values of 3.

5. 5
Larry

3×4 = 11 within 3 dB, close enough for government work.

6. 6
Chiroptera

That dipshit. It’s called “partial credit,” and it’s very likely that it’s the only way Beck managed to pass his math classes.

7. 7
raven

I doubt if Glenn Beck pays much attention to The Blaze.

He has a media empire to oversee and a lot to do.

I doubt anyone else pays much attention to it either. I’ve never read it and have no intention of looking at it. On my news feed, headlines from The Blaze occasionally show up. It seem to be a cross between World Weekly News and Stormfront.

Obama Ran with Werewolf Pack In Hawaii

8. 8
Dave Maier

3 x 4 = 11 base eleven.

9. 9
Gvlgeologist, FCD

But even under the new Common Core if even if they said 3 x 4 was 11

What does that even mean?

Ironically, the slogan of Beck’s network is “Truth Lives Here.”

Well, to be fair, remember that he used to be on “fair and balanced” Faux Noise, so he’s used to ironic slogans.

10. 10
Doug Little

One other thing,

If this is making the rounds on planet wingnuttia it just goes to show you how little they know about teaching and mathematics in general. Rote learning is what they are most familiar with and fits nicely with their world view.

11. 11
unbound

@Doug Little – Yep. Rote learning matches their black and white view of the world very nicely.

12. 12
Doug Little

Yep. Rote learning matches their black and white view of the world very nicely.

Also matches their authoritarian attitude as well, just blindly believe what you are told by your superiors.

13. 13
Bronze Dog

Okay, so the basic idea I’m getting:

1) Students are expected to know how to calculate or reason their way to the correct answer, rather than just know it through rote memorization and blind faith in their teachers and textbooks.

2) Students who get to unusual or just plain incorrect answers are expected to explain how they arrived at the answer.

3) Teachers are expected to use the information from #2 to correct mistakes in the students’ approach so they can understand what went wrong or what they were missing.

4) Presumably, if the student’s rationale is sound upon examination, it’s a teachable moment worthy of discussion so the teacher and students can work out who’s right, rather than rely on the authority of the textbook.

I guess laid out like that, it makes sense that wingnuts would seek to deceive people about its content. Common Core seems to involve forming consistent rationales and approaches to questions in order to find answers while wingnuttery and faith involve being convinced you already have the correct answer and seek out or make up rationalizations if challenged.

14. 14
reverendrodney

Even though the teacher is exonerated completely, the comments are rife with wing-nut rabies. They ignore what they see and simply spew, spew, spew. Usually with typos.

15. 15
ArtK

@ Bronze Dog

You’ve got it exactly. My kids were educated in a math system that emphasized understanding how you got to the answer over simply memorizing a formula. The result is people with a better number sense and a better ability to tackle new problems that don’t fit the exact pattern for a particular formula. The dreaded “word problems” aren’t a horrible bugaboo to these kids.

When they introduced that program, they did have to go back and do some extra work on the traditional algorithms. Although the kids were very good at solving new problems, they were slower than their peers in simple computation tasks.

16. 16
kimbeaux

@8 Dave Maier:

3 x 4 = 11 base eleven.

True, but that new math is evuuuuulllll.

(And, yes, it took me much longer than it should have to verify that. ;P)

17. 17
Abby Normal

Everything old is new again. Tom Lehrer, New Math

18. 18
Synfandel

Dave Maier for the win.

19. 19
grumpyoldfart

None of that is new to me. I started school over 60 years ago (in Australia) and way back then, when solving equations, we would get points for correctly following the ‘method’ even if we made a mistake in the first line and had no chance of getting the correct answer. Of course we got extra points if the final answer was, indeed, correct.

20. 20
Bronze Dog

The dreaded “word problems” aren’t a horrible bugaboo to these kids.

Although I found word problems annoying since they add an extra layer of interpretation to do, I was always baffled by people complaining that they were hard, as if inherently so.

Then I became more aware of the problems that plague standardized testing, grade inflation, and so forth. I’m not that old, but I’m left wondering what math classes are like today at the schools I went to as a kid.

21. 21
freehand

The Authoritarians do not want children to be able to do word problems, for they might then be better able to criticize various claims expressed by Approved News Sources®.

Enough arithmetic to be able to pay their bills is fine, although there are companies that will do that for them for a fee.

3 x 4 = 12, anyone properly educated knows that, no “nuance” about it. And men are men and women, women. Etc.

22. 22
brucegee1962

Also, a very central tenet is that whatever people do nowadays — teachers, politicians, soldiers, inner-city dwellers — is worse than the way it usedterbe. I was talking to a conservative friend recently who was discussing America’s Decline and what could be done to stop it. I told him that I disagreed — I thought that, from crime statistics, education, civic participation, and a number of other measures, we were actually in better shape morally than we’d ever been. I don’t think he’d ever heard that idea expressed before. It’s a good message to send to conservatives, too — see, we aren’t just whining all the time!

23. 23
D. C. Sessions

Ironically, the slogan of Beck’s network is “Truth Lives Here.”

And indeed it does.

Much as three women lived in Ariel Castro’s house. And like those women, it’s not allowed out.

24. 24
tubi

I had a HS teacher for algebra and geometry who taught that way. Out midterms and finals were usually worth 200-400 total points, and each question took up a single page. The questions were ones we’d never seen before, but that used some principle or formula that we had learned. Each problem was scored on how well we applied the principle (assuming we recognized what was really being asked-that wasn’t always easy) and then the results for the class were graded on a curve that the teacher applied on the fly after papers were handed back. So you didn’t know until he did whether your 96 points out of 200 possible was an A or a B.

Also, he handed the papers back in descending order of total points earned, which was always fun.

25. 25
sidhe3141

This talk about knowing why 3×4=12 reminds me of this.

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