A few days ago my daughter sent me a New York Times op-ed, “Is Algebra Necessary?” The author, a Queens College political science professor, argues that schools should lighten up their algebra requirements.
In her email my daughter quoted the friend who had posted this article on Facebook:
“My guess is that for students for whom algebra is the barrier to graduating from high school or college, a statistics class with any rigor is also going to be extremely difficult. And while math departments could “create courses in the history and philosophy of their discipline”, those would not be mathematics courses. Anyway, this article is weird.”
Her friend: “That is absolutely appalling.”
My friend: “Yes! That’s the word. . . I’m trying to be less
judgmental/certain. It’s not working.”
Here’s the article:
I had pretty much the same reaction. As an economics teacher, I’ve heard plenty of students complain about math . . . even as I demonstrate why they need it. What really worries me is that students who take a pass on algebra are also deciding at a very young age to give up any number of promising careers.
Here’s a response to the NYT article, from the website “Dropout Nation.”
What do you think?