Wednesday, January 09, 2008

European School Textbooks

There was an old, and sadly funny joke about the Evolution of Math Quizzes that went like this:

A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of that amount. What is his profit?

1970s New-math
A logger exchanges a set (L) of lumber for a set (M) of money. The cardinality of Set M is 100. The set C of production costs contains 20 fewer points. What is the cardinality of Set P of profits?

A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. Her cost is $80, her profit is $20. Find and circle the number 20.

An unenlightened logger cuts down a beautiful stand of 100 trees in order to make a $20 profit. Write an essay explaining how you feel about this as a way to make money. Topic for discussion: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?

Ha ha ha ha! Right?

Unfortunately, wrong. For here, as incidentally reported in Foreign Policy, is an actual math quiz question from a German textbook:

In 2004, a bread roll cost 40 cents. For the wheat that went into it, the farmer received less than 2 cents. What do you think about that?

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