Monday, July 30th, 2012
In this NY Times Opinion piece, “Is Algebra Necessary? “ Andrew Hacker, an emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, questions the value of requiring so much higher math of the vast majority of students who will never, he argues, need to factor polynomials, let alone tackle calculus.
My math friends (I have some) will argue that struggling with and learning the intricacies of higher level math improves all manner of thinking. Frankly I do not know enough math to argue against that notion. I will say that I am among the many people who are reasonably intelligent, good at their work, and who have a fulfilling and productive life, but who cannot recall a time when I have consciously used algebra, once done with the coursework. I have definitely put my understanding of percents, decimals and fractions, pre-algebraic functions to good use.
Maybe it’s the way the courses are typically taught.
This article is well reasoned I thought and worth the read, no matter what your bias.