As I got dressed I watched CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien. I don’t know when I went from watching 4 episodes of Sports Center (same exact episode) before work to watching CNN but I’m glad that I did. As I tuned I was delighted that Will Cain wasn’t a part of the panel (I think he’s really smug and I don’t really like his condescending disposition). Today on the Get Real segment they covered a Op-Ed piece written by Andrew Hacker from the New York Times (I seriously hate that right-wing racist publication. Its basically the Fox News of newspapers). Hacker questioned the need for not just algebra but other maths such geometry and calculus. To quote:
“Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent.”
I am 100% against this type of thinking. While I don’t debate that everyone is not going to be good at math and students struggle and are sometimes turned off to school in general due to their issues with learning math. Its a subject that leaves little room for abstract interpretation. You get it or you don’t but is the answer to really just say since it’s hard then we’ll just drop the requirement for children to take it.
What kind of message is that sending? “When the going gets tough, just lower the bar so you can pass with ease?” If I wasn’t required to do anything that I found difficult do you know what I would be good at today? Absolutely nothing. Its no wonder America falls behind almost every other industrialized country when it concerns the education of our children. Consider these facts:
- American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries.
- America’s top math students rank 25th out of 30 countries when compared with top students elsewhere in the world.
- By the end of 8th grade, U.S. students are two years behind in the math being studied by peers in other countries.
- Seventy percent of 8th graders can’t read at their grade level, and most will never catch up.
Its no wonder we are where we are when we don’t expect more from our children. We’re a lazy, shortcut taking nation and it’s reflected in our belief in our children. Math is not going to be every child’s strongest subject but does that mean we should just cater to their strong points? Kids don’t like broccoli either, so should we just allow them to eat ice cream for dinner every night? See how asinine that logic is?
You’re going to fill your car up with gas. Lets say you only have $20.00 to spend on gas it is $3.50/gallon. How many gallons could you buy?
Let x = # of gallons of gas
You know who wouldn’t be able to know how much gas they can buy with a certain amount of money? People who didn’t take algebra as children. Its not just people who work in professions that require high math and science knowledge; people use algebra in their everyday lives and don’t even realize it.