Take commonsense education approach

  • Follow Letters

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox is taking the wrong approach to improving math curriculum. Her plan is to have all high school graduates complete Algebra II by 2012.

As a high-tech professional, and having read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, I appreciate the need to promote math and science. It is vital if we are to maintain our leadership in technology, so important to our economy and national security. Parents and counselors should encourage students to pursue technology careers. We must help children understand technology's importance for America's future.

But not all of us have an aptitude for math. Many can barely grasp the basics of Algebra I, much less advanced concepts of polynomials and imaginary numbers in Algebra II. Think of the poor math teacher who has to push these kids through. We would have to water down the course just to ensure most students graduate, and teachers would have less time with those who will need these concepts for college. This requirement would seriously increase the dropout rate.

How many of us have used any concepts from Algebra II for our jobs? Why go through the pain and expense of pushing future lawyers, police officers, bank tellers, realty agents and car mechanics - all productive members of society - through a class in which nothing will be used, and everything will be forgotten after the exam?

We must identify by middle school those students with the aptitude for high-tech careers, and develop them to the highest level. We also need to promote applicable math for those not bound for high-tech careers. We need to teach the effects of compound interest, interpreting statistics, and quantitative analysis of business processes, all things they will need in the work force.

Cox's one-size-fits-all solution to education is wrong. Education should be as varied as the real world, or it will bear no relationship to reality.

Joe Fausnight, Evans

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 02/03/07 - 11:35 am
0
0
As long as goverment

As long as goverment education remains a noncompetitive system it will be operated and directed by bureaucrats. One size fits all is their mantra. Only parents that can afford to cover the school tax and tuition to a private school can offer their children any relief. I sure hope vouchers get a chance.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 02/03/07 - 11:40 am
0
0
Ha! Fausnight is so right! I
Unpublished

Ha! Fausnight is so right! I teach H.S. English and I failed Algebra II in high school. Too bad the geniuses who make policies like this and NCLB never have to face these children in the classroom, never have to watch their disgruntled faces of frustration, never have to grade their papers, never have to stay after school to tutor them and never have to teach them at all. If they ever did, it would kill their idealism. Sure, push school improvement, but not with stupid requirements like this.

acousticb1
0
Points
acousticb1 02/03/07 - 12:34 pm
0
0
The regular math does not

The regular math does not prepare you to what you see in college it puts you at a disadvantage. More power to them. There are tools like Aleks out there. there are sites to help. Kids need to have a great system to be able to go to college and now they dont. Some students are being forced to take remedial classes even if they were valdictorian....makes hill out of beans especially if you go to college.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 02/03/07 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Fausnight's POINT is that not
Unpublished

Fausnight's POINT is that not all WANT to go to college so why force all to take the higher math? Some are lucky just to graduate with the standards as they are. I find it hard to believe that ANY Valedictorian would have to take a remedial class in college. That is nonsense. Those that want to go to college can take Algebra II or higher, no one will stop them. Also, not to mention what this may entail for Special Ed. students, they are already forced to take graduation tests they cannot read, will they be forced to take a class they cannot pass?

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs