If the National Rifle Association or Gun Owners of America has taken a stand on the issue, I’m not aware of it. No, parents are alone on this issue. But they have begun to speak out and defend their children’s rights.
Why? Because for centuries children had the right to carry, and many parents see no need for that right to be abridged. Actually children have carried since Archimedes invented carrying. Why schools have taken away that right is beyond me.
Children need to carry more than ever. It’s not a safe world or an overly educated one, particularly in mathematics. It’s a world that’s bent on fixing things that aren’t broken, a world that wants to innovate even when things are clicking along quite smoothly.
Parents have probably supported carrying because it’s simple and time-honored. But in schools, the government, and the corporate world, the powers that be often change things for the sake of changing them.
For example, academia snuck in a change around 20 years ago that was unnecessary and bigoted. In all college writing now, instead of 55 B.C. (before Christ) it’s 55 B.C.E. (before the Common Era). Instead of 500 A.D. (“Anno Domini” — in the year of the Lord), it’s now C.E. (the Common Era).
Why the change? Because we should not carry the word Christ into a pluralistic society. Or so says academia. But in B.C.E., what Common Era is being referred to?
Actually it’s still Western Civilization’s Christian era that began with the spread of Christianity and monotheism, and the demise of the old Greek and Roman polytheism. So it’s still a Christian reference, but academia has achieved its goal of expunging the name Christ from the minds of collegians.
Such cultural cleansing is getting more and more prevalent. Now it’s math teachers who have expunged old Archimedes and his concept of carrying. Let’s review what math teachers have done to that honorable Greek and to our children.
In the old days when peace was upon the land and students knew math, if your child was adding 19 and 19, he or she would add 9 and 9 and get 18. Your child would then write down the 8 and “carry” the 1, that is, place it at the top of the two 1s in the left column. From adding the three 1s in the left column, your child would get 3 which, placed beside the 8, rendered the number 38.
How utterly simple. But simplicity, in spite of the pleadings of Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and Miss Manners, is no longer considered a virtue. We’re not supposed to be simple. We’re supposed to complicate things.
Let’s try the new way, adding 19 and 19 again. Ok, mentally draw the line beneath these two numbers, but get your mind off of carrying because like hymns and square dancing, that’s for old people and old is always bad. Underneath the line, write down 18, the total of 9 plus 9. Underneath the 18, place a 20. Go on. Just do it. Twenty is the total of the two 10s inherent in each of the two 19s. Now add 18 and 20 and you will get 38, the same number you would get with the simpler, but outlawed carrying.
Once more. Let’s add 10, 11, and 12. Mentally (or with pen if you just reached for one) add the right column’s 0, 1, and 2 and place the sum of 3 right beneath the line. Now place a 30 (the total of the three 10’s inherent in the 10, 11, and 12) right beneath the 3. Add 30 and 3 and you get 33, the same number you get with the now abandoned carrying.
I hate to say this, but the new way is more and more fun, the more I do it. But it’s more involved than the old way, and the spirit of the times, remember, requires complication. It’s all about children knowing the “process,” you see, and about teachers using modern, common strategies. Also, “process” is in; steps are out. Grrrrrr!
It’s sad that everything is being called “common” now: Common Era, Common Core, common strategies. Interesting. What’s going on?
I say we should still honor Archimedes who, incidentally, lived from 287 to 212 B.C. Oops! I meant to say B.C.E.
Roger Hines is a retired high school English teacher in Kennesaw.