Scholastic Publishing has been accused of pushing the liberal agenda by Eric Bolling on the Fox News network. The problem with Eric Boling’s rant isn’t that he’s wrong, but that he uses the wrong argument.
The analogy of “distributing the wealth” was clearly meant to explain the situation. But there are two problems here:
- Scholastic’s analogy fails
- Eric Bolling doesn’t know that the analogy fails
Scholastic should be on the hook here, but less for indoctrination and more for obscuring mathematics!
What IS the distributive property?
The distributive property allows us to “distribute” a scaling number. For example, my cookie recipe calls for
- 1 pound butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 1/2 cups flour
This means my cookies will be made from this addition:
1 pound butter + 1 1/2 cups sugar + 4 1/2 cups flour
Suppose I need to triple this recipe, I have to triple everything. That’s what the distributed property does – it allows you to scale it.
3 x (1 pound butter + 1 1/2 cups sugar + 4 1/2 cups flour)
3 x 1 pound butter + 3 x 1 1/2 cups sugar + 3 x 4 1/2 cups flour
You’re not distributing anything real, but you’re distributing the scale!
How would this look for money?
You don’t distribute money, because money is something real. (Remember you can only distribute the scale.)
If money were to be involved in an example it could look like this (liberal indoctrination included for entertainment value):
Every year Karen, the rich girl, donates $500 to the Salvation Army, $250 to her local food bank, and $1200 to her church.
$500 + $250 + $1200
This year she got a big fat raise, because the rich get richer, and she wants to triple all her donations. So this looks like:
3 x ($500 + $250 + $1200)
3 x $500 + 3 x $250 + 3 x $1200
Scholastic attempts an analogy – and fails.
The image and title of the scholastic worksheet implies that money can be distributed in the manipulation of algebra. This is not just misleading, but completely wrong.
And since the subheading is “understanding the distributive property,” it’s also offensive.
Eric Bolling was making the wrong point.
Eric Bolling’s argument should have been:
“The distributive property distributes the scale, it can’t distribute money. Therefore either scholastic developers don’t know what they’re doing, or they are specifically inserting liberal indoctrination.”
I sincerely believe that the developers of scholastic use the “distribute the wealth” as an attempt of an analogy. Unfortunately the analogy fails mathematically and it also frustrates the politically conservative.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I purchased this worksheet from Scholastic for the purposes of commenting here.
You might also like:
- The Opportunity to Learn
- The Distributive Property – What Is It, Anyway?
- Distributive Property Gets Destroyed by the Lattice Method
- Scalar Factors of Scalar Ratios
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