Hi All..... hope this finds you all well.
Came across this by Ron Wolk and thaought it was interesting and certainly matches my experiences....
It doesn’t add up: Who needs higher mathematics? http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/CT_wolk10_03-10-0...
The main reasons students are not learning algebra and geometry is that they don’t really want to. They think higher-order math is irrelevant to their real lives. They can’t imagine that they will ever use algebra and geometry.
And they are mostly right.
I am willing to bet that the majority of Rhode Islanders who graduated from high school have made little, if any, use of algebra or geometry. Most, like me, probably forgot most of what they “learned” before the ink was dry on their diplomas. I squeaked through algebra, plain and solid geometry, and trigonometry, but a year later I couldn’t explain the difference between a cosine and a stop sign. And I can’t think of an instance over the past half-century when I needed algebra or geometry.
A prominent Rhode Island businessman once said to me: “I have been a successful businessman for 40 years; I founded and ran a Fortune 500 company, and all the math I ever used were addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, and figuring percentages in my head.” What are the odds that he would pass the New England Common Assessment?
I am not denigrating math. It is important in helping us cope with the demands of everyday life. It is also a powerful problem-solving tool that can help students learn to think logically and reason clearly. Fortunately, it’s not the only path to clear thinking. Students can also learn to think and solve problems by studying the humanities — literature, history, philosophy — and by engaging in analysis, discourse, and debate.
Perhaps most importantly, math is the language of science and engineering — a prerequisite for any student who aspires to a career in those fields. And in this high-tech world and global economy policymakers and educators constantly worry that the United States will lose the race because we aren’t producing enough scientists.
But if we think we will get more kids to become scientists and engineers by force-feeding them algebra in the 8th grade and higher-order math through high school, we are deluding ourselves.
But what about the students who reach the 8th grade with neither an interest in, nor talent for, math or science? How likely is it that they will excel in (or even benefit from) courses in higher-order mathematics?
The terrible downside of the national movement to establish “rigorous” standards for what every kid should know is and be able to do, is that it treats all kids the same. But students are not all alike. They learn in different ways at different speeds, have different abilities and interests, have different hopes for the future. Requiring all of them to meet the same high academic standard at the same time makes no sense.
Ronald A. Wolk is the founder and former editor of Education Week. He is chairman of the Big Picture Board in Providence, and a member of the governor’s task force on urban education.
So teachers....... what do you think of Mr. Wolk?
Is he on to something or is it a 21st century skill that ALL kids learn higher level math?
be well... mike