July 16, 2008 12:25PM

Back‐​Alley Long Division?

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Apparently, when your child is being taught “new math” and you want him to learn the old‐​fashioned way, helping him to carry the one can make you feel a bit criminal.

Of course, if we’d let all parents choose their kids’ schools instead of forcing them to support a single system of government institutions, this wouldn’t be a problem. Those who want their children to learn new math could pick schools that teach it, while those who prefer good ol’ formulas could do the same.

It’s a solution so obvious almost any reasoning approach will hit it. Unfortunately, politics isn’t almost any reasoning approach. It’s a process so convoluted that it makes putting two and two together as complicated as solving Fermat’s Last Theorem, and misses even the most sensible of answers.