Earlier today I posted a link to a free Soviet textbook entitled Systems of Linear Equations. It was published in the late 1980’s and is one of a series of Soviet textbooks I’ve highlighted on my websites.
Why, you ask, do I pass along Soviet textbooks? There are two reasons. The first is that I have a long-term commitment to free and low-cost textbooks for students. The second is that the Soviet Union had one of the greatest mathematical and technical academic and institute establishments the planet has ever known, it’s putting things into hardware where it broke down.
Linear algebra has become a favourite subject of mine but late in life; I didn’t take a formal course in it until my PhD pursuits. Because of my specific major, I didn’t have to take linear algebra as an undergraduate back in the Dinosaur Age, although the aerospace engineers, for example, certainly did.
The kicker with this little book is in the description, as follows:
The book is intended for a wide circle of readers, including pupils of senior classes of secondary schools, who are interested in mathematics.
Translation: including high school.
That’s interesting because the Loudoun County School Board, at the instance of the Virginia Department of Education, has proposed to “to eliminate its accelerated math programs below 11th grade, citing “equity” as one of the catalysts for its changes to the mathematics curriculum.” This is the same Loudoun County School Board which allowed two women to be raped in the bathroom without consequence until called out. This is also the same school board that has inspired Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Clintonista Terry McAuliffe to call for the removal of parental involvement in curriculum decisions.
“Equity” is a socialist concept that basically states that everyone should end up with the same result in life. But the real socialists in the Soviet Union knew better than to fudge on scientific education, thus the linear algebra in high school. Today we’re faced with another set of real socialists (I know, they’ve fudged on that in ways that the Soviets wouldn’t bring themselves to do) who also have a massive scientific and educational establishment that launches hypersonic vehicles which no one thought they could.
The socialists we have in this country are and have been for the last fifty years are, to use Marxist terminology, utopian. They have grand dreams for a country where no one really has to do much of anything to succeed as long as they allow their leaders to slouch through their funded bureaucratic positions (like Pete Buttigieg is doing with his paternity leave while the supply chain breaks down.) But their country will fail.
I’m glad that McAuliffe is in a tight space in the race, one which the Loudoun County School Board and his own inept statements have made possible. He deserves to lose. But I think that time is running out too fast on a country which has pushed real achievement, especially in the sciences, into the background.