Thursday, August 22, 2013
Nicholson Baker makes a case against requiring algebra 2 and asks “why, if math is so great and timeless and beautiful, do millions of people hate it so much?”
During his conversation with Leonard brought up a 2002 survey that found a very high correlation between people who took and succeeded algebra 2 and those who made money and were successful later in life. Baker said, “It isn’t more than a statistical correlation, but people pounced on this and said, my god! Algebra 2! It’s the mystic door! If we force every child go through this door successfully, if we make them do it and we make them succeed, then they’ll all be above average and the world will be a better place.” But he argues, that making it a requirement for everyone for college admission is “not just a waste of time but a real source of suffering for many people.” Baker noted that it shouldn't be removed entirely from the high school curriculum, but that it shouldn't be required for every student, especially for otherwise good students who are struggling to pass it. "I think kids should be compelled to take some algebra...so you get a sense of what's out there and whether you have a head for it," he said.
Many callers and commenters defended algebra, saying it teaches problem-solving and intellectual discipline, but a number of people agree with Baker that not every student should be forced to take algebra 2 if they're struggling to pass it.
Nicholson Baker's article “Wrong Answer” is in the September 2013 issue of Harper’s Magazine.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
In an opinion article in response to a recent New York Times essay, a parent writes: "Before dropping algebra in favor of more ‘useful’ mathematics, we would do well to first examine how we deliver and assess the most fundamental aspects of math education."
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Andrew Hacker, professor of political science at Queens College New York, recently proclaimed on The Takeaway that the age old belief that "algebra and mathematics generally sharpens our mind…[is] total fiction." Many of our listeners disagreed.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
In his recent editorial for our partner the New York Times, professor Andrew Hacker asks “is Algebra necessary?” The millions of high school students and college freshmen taking mandatory mathematics, he argues, aren’t actually learning much aside from tapping those calculators.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
By Beth Fertig
Getting out of remedial math is a two-step process at CUNY’s community colleges. Students have to get a 60% average in their class, and they have to pass an assessment known as COMPASS.
At LaGuardia Community College, 32 ...