Sunday, August 01, 2010

America's Math Wars

Townhall has an article that kind of struck home today. It involves something that I have learned to respect a great deal, and that is Math. I have previously posted about how my own shaky foundation and understanding of math was a problem that I had to overcome despite my teenaged certainty that I wouldn't ever use it. I learned the truth, and have made an effort to tell todays kids that everything is math. Math is the foundation of logical thought, and math is involved in every job you may get in the future. I almost wrote nearly every job, but I can't think of a single job, or a single thing in life where Math won't play some part.

The article outlines the current high goals of California's educational system regarding Math. It calls on the sincere attempt to have every student in Algebra by the time they reach the 8th grade. I should point out, I was taking Algebra in the 11th Grade, and nearly flunked it.

California is thinking about adapting the Federal Standard pushed by President Obama, which would set lower goals for the students, but infuse some $700 million into the school systems. Now, obviously, you want the money to pay teachers etc. However, don't you also want your students to have as much of a foundation as possible to prepare them for the future?

One line in the article sums up the reality of the current educational mess.

So it was no surprise when Stanford University math professor James Milgram found that the number of California State University students who needed remedial math had more than doubled, from 23 percent in 1989 to 54 percent in 1997.

Half of the students at the University needed remedial Math classes. They didn't have the bare minimum math skills needed to attend the University. So with this abomination in our recent history, why would anyone even consider lowering the standards further, instead of pushing math harder?

Because, math is one of those things that is like Colonel Colt's pistol, is a great equalizer. So when a Politician explains that the Legislation will work, you just have to understand high number math, the people in the crowd do understand, and know it's a lie.

I won't write that stupid statement, that I wished I had studied Math harder when I was in school. Because I doubt that I would have, as at that time I was a Teenaged Rebel without a clue. However, I'm glad that someone around me knew math, and could teach me as I moved into the real world, and I'm certainly glad that I was lucky enough to have people who would teach me what I should have already known.


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