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Unread 08-01-2012, 03:46 PM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

From the article:
Quote:
a definitive analysis by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce forecasts that in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above
If only 5% of American entry level workers are proficient in algebra in 2022, I'm moving to Canada. Maybe only 5% of those jobs will require the knowledge what with the rise of technology, but I think it would be a considerably less innovative and and independent workforce, as Algebra and the math that comes after it really can help students learn how to think better.
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Unread 08-01-2012, 04:07 PM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

What does the populace of CD qualify as Algebra?

Its been my experience that while Mathematics instruction has changed due to testing mandates it also no longer covers all the concepts that an entry level Physics course expects.

One of my favorite quotes from a student from this past school year "...Physics is like Algebra if you take away all of the numbers."

The author of the article does have a point there is a large section of the workforce that does not "need" to have an understanding of "advanced" math.
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Last edited by Phyrxes : 08-01-2012 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Added the question to the post.
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Unread 08-01-2012, 04:30 PM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

*This is my sole opinion, and I understand/respect all opposing opinions. This does not reflect the thoughts of Team 256 as a whole, but a majority of us (I asked around)*

*Start rant*


Wow, is this really happening? Are people actually debating over whether or not we need Algebra? I never thought it would come to the point where my education is being questioned.

Looking at the opposite side of the argument, it does make a lot of sense, though! Why teach kids skills they'll never use? If I'm a grocery bagger at a supermarket, I won't use the information I learned about the Great War. When I graduate college with my masters degree and take on my lifelong dream of digging ditches, will I use the Calculus I learned? Why even waste my time learning how to use correct grammar in my AP English class when my boss says I'll never have to write anything during my job as a janitor? We don't need all of this useless information if we're going to have really low standards for ourselves, strive to do very little and not try and accomplish things in our lives!

In case your haven't found out, that entire last paragraph was sarcasm. That's what I'm seeing from this article and those who agree with it. These people are seeing an obstacle in their lives, and instead of working hard to pass over it, like the good old American way, they want to eliminate it so they don't need to deal with it at the time, which just shows the laziness and low standards people want these days. We should be striving for the high level careers that change the world, and better humanity, not for a low-leveled job, and those world-changing careers use math. KrazyCarl's simile comparing a broken ball harvester mechanism to the kids failing Algebra was one of the best things I've heard on this topic. It's time to get the engineers in here, because these people are fixing the wrong problem. Students are failing. Is it because the subject is too hard and useless to them? Seeing as that there are still many students who pass Algebra can say it isn't too hard (My friend Carlos hated math, but understood Algebra and passed easily), and Algebra is used very much in the world today, so I'd say, No, Algebra itself is not the cause of the failing students. So taking away Algebra is just about the dumbest thing someone can try and do to fix the problem. I fail to comprehend why there are people in this world who are so blindingly unintelligent that they seem to think this is even a possible solution to anything. You might as well just take out the school system completely, because that's the exact same as taking out Algebra. If you don't want to do something because you don't think you'll ever use it, then you're doing things wrong. I am disappointed that this subject even came up.

You want kids to pass Algebra? Get a better curriculum! Teach so that kids will understand! Invest money in our school systems! Don't pass students who fail to reach the requirements! I can name over 20 things that we as a nation can do to fix this problem, and if I actually put some thought into it, I could probably think of 20 more. There are excellent ideas on this thread on how to raise the pass rate of Algebra, and I'm half tempted to send it over to the people who wrote this article.

You get what you celebrate, and in today's culture a positive attitude towards math and success in it isn't celebrated.

*End of rant*
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Last edited by Andrew Lawrence : 08-01-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Unread 08-01-2012, 05:37 PM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

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Originally Posted by SuperNerd256 View Post
You want kids to pass Algebra? Get a better curriculum! Teach so that kids will understand! Invest money in our school systems! Don't pass students who fail to reach the requirements!
The rest of your post is reasonable, but this section is of note. I agree, but I must point out that "get a better curriculum" is unfortunately very hard without more money, and that doesn't seem to be coming. Again, failing students means keeping them in school for another year, costing more money. The government also seems to think that the embarrassment from being held back is not worth learning the material.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperNerd256 View Post
I can name over 20 things that we as a nation can do to fix this problem, and if I actually put some thought into it, I could probably think of 20 more. There are excellent ideas on this thread on how to raise the pass rate of Algebra, and I'm half tempted to send it over to the people who wrote this article.
I expect some of those solutions would be related to spending, but the students themselves are much to blame. We need to change schooling at the elementary level, so students are not so averted to high school. Kids need to love school early, so they stick with it the rest of the way. That would take care of a large part of the problems with students failing classes, because General Education classes are not too hard to pass for those students who care, regardless of natural ability.
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Unread 08-01-2012, 05:54 PM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

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Originally Posted by Ekcrbe View Post
The rest of your post is reasonable, but this section is of note. I agree, but I must point out that "get a better curriculum" is unfortunately very hard without more money, and that doesn't seem to be coming. Again, failing students means keeping them in school for another year, costing more money. The government also seems to think that the embarrassment from being held back is not worth learning the material.



I expect some of those solutions would be related to spending, but the students themselves are much to blame. We need to change schooling at the elementary level, so students are not so averted to high school. Kids need to love school early, so they stick with it the rest of the way. That would take care of a large part of the problems with students failing classes, because General Education classes are not too hard to pass for those students who care, regardless of natural ability.
Very true. I agree 100% with everything you've said. For those who fail Algebra at my school, a lot of the time it's the student's fault, and it's always students who have a negative attitude towards the class.
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Unread 08-03-2012, 12:05 AM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

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Originally Posted by SuperNerd256 View Post
Very true. I agree 100% with everything you've said. For those who fail Algebra at my school, a lot of the time it's the student's fault, and it's always students who have a negative attitude towards the class.
Perhaps these students have a negative attitude because they believe that the knowledge is unnecessary, and have been taught by previous teachers that they are "bad at math."

(My own opinion is that any truly great student can succeed with any teacher, and any truly great teacher can succeed with any group of students. The problem is that both of these occurrences are quite rare.)
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Unread 08-03-2012, 07:44 AM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

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Originally Posted by DampRobot View Post
Perhaps these students have a negative attitude because they believe that the knowledge is unnecessary, and have been taught by previous teachers that they are "bad at math."

(My own opinion is that any truly great student can succeed with any teacher, and any truly great teacher can succeed with any group of students. The problem is that both of these occurrences are quite rare.)
I would argue that it is quite common for a good student to succeed in spite of poor teaching or poor curriculum. Kids with good parents can show up to school already interested and curious about everything, and that's half the battle. A lot of these kids are so good that you almost can't screw them up unless you try to.

The presence of a bunch of those kids probably causes some unwarranted complacency. "The system is working great for some people."
"Johnny works hard and does well - what's your problem?" etc.
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Unread 08-03-2012, 08:39 AM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

The easy way to fix 'No Child Left Behind'.

Just grade based on the ability to walk, talk and take orders.

See it's all fixed.

< this smiley misplaced it's dentures.

BTW, I was not the model math student (several of my teachers were fond of gloating over that point). However, I oddly retain quite a bit more than many of my fellow students I still know and more importantly I know where to look if I can't remember a transform into the s-domain. I have these things and they have paper in them. Good for the retention of knowledge until the paper rots or the ink fades. We used to call them books and unlike media today you need to provide external light (I know archaic). Next I might suggest the use of holes in paper for programming. Wobbles away on my old man cane and when I was in school our robots went up hill both ways.

Here's a little point: A well learned individual is not the total of their ability to recall information like a teleprompter. A well learned individual knows themselves and how to collect and use the tool of knowledge.

Last edited by techhelpbb : 08-03-2012 at 08:55 AM.
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Unread 08-03-2012, 09:10 AM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

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Originally Posted by DampRobot View Post
(My own opinion is that any truly great student can succeed with any teacher, and any truly great teacher can succeed with any group of students. The problem is that both of these occurrences are quite rare.)
Your first point, I completely agree. Your second point, I agree, but there is an important caveat - "given an appropriate group size."

Quote:
Originally Posted by techhelpbb View Post
more importantly I know where to look if I can't remember a transform into the s-domain.
-snip-
Here's a little point: A well learned individual is not the total of their ability to recall information like a teleprompter. A well learned individual knows themselves and how to collect and use the tool of knowledge.
Being smart isn't necessarily knowing the answer to everything; being smart is knowing how to find the answer to everything. Rote memorization is a critical skill to have, and it's easily tested - in fact, I would argue that most standardized tests focus on memorization of facts. However, critical thinking, problem solving, understanding of processes, creativity, and being able to find material that isn't already between one's ears are arguably more important, but these aspects aren't commonly measured and evaluated. When rewards are evaluation- or merit-based, teachers are generally forced to teach toward memorization of facts, terms, and rules rather than investigate their use.
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Unread 08-03-2012, 10:22 AM
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Re: Is Algebra Necessary?

First, I want to apologize for my previous incomprehensible post. Looking back at it, it's pretty confusing. Anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
Rote memorization is a critical skill to have, and it's easily tested - in fact, I would argue that most standardized tests focus on memorization of facts. However, critical thinking, problem solving, understanding of processes, creativity, and being able to find material that isn't already between one's ears are arguably more important, but these aspects aren't commonly measured and evaluated. When rewards are evaluation- or merit-based, teachers are generally forced to teach toward memorization of facts, terms, and rules rather than investigate their use.
I think this is what the author was getting at in the first place. Algebra is a wonderful skill to have, but if students are taught only "these are the steps to do something algebraic..." and don't gain any actual skills, algebra loses its importance and becomes just a family of rules to remember. At that point, it doesn't help most people to have even "learned" algebra (I wouldn't call it learning, because it is only memorization), because it doesn't apply to their daily lives.
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