What do the three R’s mean ? Nowadays it’s Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Back in the day, as they say, the three R’s, represented a basic, skills-oriented education in school: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. My best skills were reading and writing and I was passably good at arithmetic which is the most elementary part of mathematics involving basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of numbers. My generation was taught the fundamentals that you absolutely require in terms of reading, writing and basic math skills. I read an article by an Ontario math professor who teaches business calculus and algebra to students who she says have no understanding of fractions. She says they don’t understand that half the cake is the same as 50% of the cake. Math education in our biggest province has been declining for several years. Half the students in the province couldn’t meet the grade 6 math standard last year and experts blame a lack of attention to fundamentals. And teachers don’t know their fundamentals either. When a grade 6 and 7 level test was administered to a class of teacher candidates, about a third of them couldn’t pass it. They say the previous Liberal government was urged to make reforms but instead of math the schools added courses in gender studies. You need basic math skills in whatever era you’re living in. If teacher candidates have trouble with a grade 6 and 7 level math test, something’s gone off the rails further back down the line.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.