Advanced algebra should be an elective for motivated math students, not a requirement, argues novelist Nicholson Baker in a Harper’s cover story (subscribers only), Wrong Answer.What's even more ridiculous is the new craze of making every student college-ready, as if that's a reasonable or even a desirable goal. Here in California it's known as requiring every student to take the "A thru G requirements", the minimum for entry into our state university system (4 years of English; 3, preferably 4 years of math including Algebra II, etc). It's more than a pipe dream, it's an absurdity. It ranks right up there with making every student "philharmonic-ready", and as instruments go, I can barely play a CD.
Baker isn’t the first to question whether future arts majors need advanced math, notes Popular Science.
In 1950, only 25 percent of students in the U.S. were taking algebra, while the Soviet Union was churning out mathematicians, writes Baker. The National Defense Education Act, passed in 1958, raised math requirements, “creating a lot of unhappy students who, as they struggle through required math course after required math course, become discouraged and learn to hate school.”
The Common Core won’t help, Baker argues.
Algebra 2 Common Core is “a highly efficient engineer for the creation of math rage: a dead scrap of repellant terminology, a collection of spiky, decontextualized, multistep mathematical black-box techniques that you must practice over and over and get by heart in order to be ready to do something interesting later on, when the time comes,” he writes.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
From Joanne's blog: