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March 06, 2006
Do you remember high school math?
If you're interested in education and how much math we need, read the comments on this blog. The post discusses a girl who dropped out of high school in Los Angeles after failing algebra six times in six semesters. According to the post, algebra drives more kids out of school than any other subject. I guess I should count my blessings that I swung a D.
My son and webmaster (JakeJarvis.com) loves algebra because he programs. Programming taught him how to think and he thinks algebra is easy as a result. This is a kid who didn't like math up until a year ago. Our school district uses some horrid Chicago curriculum that glances on topics and doesn't worry if kids don't get it the first time -- they'll get it the next time, says the philosophy. Only this means that kids who like to master things don't and they get highly frustrated as they see concepts passing by them like trucks on an interstate. The connection between programming (Jake works in PHP mostly, also Java) and algebra was a separate opportunity at mastery.
Posted by: Jeff Jarvis at March 6, 2006 10:36 AM
Who gave your the D? Mr. Liberi? Mr. Rarig? Not Mr. Frank--his class was a breeze.
(Note to Blogspotting readers: Stephen and I went to the same high school.)
Incidentally, I got a C in Trig from Mr. Liberi.
I understood it when the teacher explained it, but I could never get it when I had to do it on my own.
Posted by: Lauren Young at March 6, 2006 04:28 PM
J. Vincent Ash, two years running
Posted by: steve baker at March 6, 2006 05:05 PM
I fail to understand what the brouhaha is all about. While there are genuine reasons why some kids may have a hard time with mathematics, I suspect that with the vast majority it is sheer laziness. Of course, there is a way of making mathematics interesting and better teachers would certainly, but in the end if you want to live some, some level of quantitative learning is a necessity. Ignore it at your peril.
Posted by: Deepak at March 6, 2006 08:33 PM
I believe the biggest problem kids have with math, whether it be algebra or any other kind, is a poor foundation in the basics. ALL math concepts are based on the four primary functions, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. If a student missed any of these building blocks, he/she is doomed to failure and will never master higher level math.
Posted by: Joel at September 19, 2006 03:29 PM