Not a special story here, but another example of our ongoing battle of maintaining our US constitutional mandate to keep church separate from state.

Lawsuit: Local schools fail to teach evolution, distort Sept. 11

Updated: 6:37 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, 2015  |  Posted: 3:49 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, 2015

A Boca Raton attorney claims in a lawsuit that Palm Beach County’s public schools are denying elementary students a full explanation of the theory of evolution and distorting the motives for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Suing on behalf of his 10-year-old son, attorney Barry Silver says the school system is violating students’ constitutional rights by disseminating “false, misleading, and dangerous information” regarding both Islam and evolution.

In the lawsuit, filed last month, Silver concedes that his son’s fifth-grade science textbook at Waters Edge Elementary west of Boca Raton does explain how environmental changes prompt organisms to adapt, a key tenet of evolution.

But he says the textbook never mentions the terms “evolution,” “natural selection” or the theory’s chief author, Charles Darwin.

In his lawsuit, Silver says that Florida’s educational standards “require the teaching of evolution in the elementary school years.”

But a state Department of Education spokeswoman said Silver was wrong, and that the state’s standards do not call for teaching evolution until after elementary school.

In a statement, the county school district said that its curriculum “adheres to Florida Standards approved by the Florida Department of Education.”

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It seems I was wrong about division......mostly because the idea of an irrational number was not introduced first, so a non-integer answer was not yet on the table...and, to me, that meant that division was not possible.

A minor nit here:  What you were missing was the concept of a rational number, not an irrational one.  By definition, you can't get an irrational number by dividing two whole numbers.  Irrational means "not a ratio" here.  An irrational number, like pi, is not expressible as a fraction, though some fractions (355 over 113 for example) come pretty close.  But the things you thought you couldn't divide were integers, and what you get when you do the division is a rational number (expressible as a ratio, ratio-nal).  (Of course some rational numbers are also whole numbers...I'm talking about the ones that aren't.)

That nit aside, your point about using fractions as a springboard into division is very well taken.  I'd not be surprised if most people never twig to the connection, and just think the horizontal line notation (numerator above, denominator below) being used for both fractions and division is a coincidence, some weird shit about algebra, and they think they have to figure out which one is meant by context.

I have a similar story to yours.  In sixth grade we were presented with a very old puzzle.  A pencil and an eraser, together, cost $1.10.  The eraser costs a dollar more than the pencil.  What were their prices?

I was the only one in the class who got the right answer.  The teacher, after arguing with everyone else in the class for ten minutes, decided to change the answer given in his book.  I was appalled and still am.

Two equations with two unknowns are seldom obvious, and the dollar and dime values make it even easier to conclude the wrong answer, but I'd give you a nickel for the pencil and 1.05 for the eraser.

Correctamundo.  What got me was not that most of my classmates got it wrong (it was an extra credit "puzzler" type of question) but that the teacher knuckled under to them after demonstrating (by explaining the correct answer) that he knew they were wrong.


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