The New Math: Nerds and Wonks

Here is the latest installment of Craig Damrauer‘s “New Math.” Earlier posts can be found here, and his own site here.




Definition: Policy Wonk
. .

wonk n. Also "policy wonk". Sometimes called "an accountant for legislation". The somewhat disagreeable but vital person who understands the details in current and proposed law.

A low level wonk corrects spelling and translates the particular dialect of Old English used in laws. For example, he crafts the intricate art called the tax code, rivaling the DaVinci Code in elegance and obscurity:

(There is more)


Any other math geeks somewhat put off by this "new math" crap? It's clever and witty, yes. But the name "new math" somehow implies that old math is no longer useful or good enough.


To Molly,

Most elementary school teachers do not understand math, even the simple add, subtract, multiply, divide type.

Teaching the Math Analogy -

New Math is of course much more abstract and hard to understand, by both teachers and students. It is better for teachers, because it prevents parents from seeing what the teacher does not understand. If there is a choice, it is better to not understand something complicated rather than something simple. (smile)


I am not a math geek precisely because of what was called the "New Math" when was in elementary school. Ruined me forever. Apparently, it ruined a whole generation.


I'm a math geek -- mostly because I never paid attention to elementary school math. I learned it on my own.

I'm definitely not put off by these "new math" cartoons. They're funny, and they're obviously jokes (more political cartoons than "math"). There's no way that anyone could mistake the above "math" as something that could be useful for balancing a checkbook.

"Plus," you have to understand what the math symbols mean to get the jokes anyway. It's not like these cartoons are degrading learning by drawing kids away from math as we know it.


Tom Lehrer on the "new math" you may have been subjected to 40 years ago or so:

But in the new approach, the goal is to understand what you are doing, rather than to get the right answer.


if wonk=nerd+10 years+ policy, then according to the commutative property of arithmetic.

wonk=(square +30 years +-1 bil usd worth) + 10 yrs + -policy.

Wonks aren't so bad after all then.

My comment is really nonsense I know haha. :d