I came across a website recently, by way of Twitter. Suffice it to say it was one of the many SAT preppies out there – an SAT Dude, in fact -- touting the benefits of preparing for the dreaded standardized test. In this instance, MATH. The tricks of the trade disclosed, so to speak.

The title to the particular post intrigued me, as did the post’s content. It was called, How To Solve “Shaded Region” Questions.

Finally. Someone who could show me just how to find the solution to those confounded shaded region questions (not to be confused with pesky liver spot queries, mind you). Yes, to be able to sleep at night, sans the countless permutations and combinations of tossing and turning, seized with the answer to the question of the ages.

Alas, having been shown the way of the “oddly shaped shaded region” – by a PhD, no less -- I still don’t get it. I think he lost me somewhere between l2 – m2 + s= answer, and, whole – gray = white. Could I get that on rye?

Perhaps (and this is just a passing, rhetorical thought here), if Vladimir Putin had to solve a “shaded region” problem before he invaded and annexed the Crimea, that region might still be a part of the Ukraine today.

I often wonder whether we should be teaching kids -- and testing them -- on matters somewhat more mundane, such as balancing a check book, creating a budget, giving correct change back from a ten dollar bill, unit pricing, saving for retirement, and investing for the future?

Nah! Solving "Shaded Region" questions is so much more useful...

Folks, I think it’s great to delve into the mysterious and the unknown, whether exploring the outer regions of the universe, or the inner sanctum of the mind. But before we set out to solve those tricky shaded region questions, I believe we need to master the true common core that is the foundation of all knowledge  -- Reading. Writing. Arithmetic. 

It is critical, if we are to advance as a society and a civilization, that we must learn to think, to reason, to question. From the sublime to the absurd.  Shaded regions (all fifty of them), to that which is only exposed by the glaring light of day. Without the basics, however, we are inevitably doomed to the darkness.

Teach more. Test less.
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Plan. Prepare. Prevail!  

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