About a half-dozen years ago, the Gates Foundation talked the L.A. school board into passing a rule that nobody could graduate from high school without passing Algebra II (as well as Algebra I and Geometry). Each year since, implementation of that edict has been delayed for a year, although, supposedly, this year`s class of high school freshmen will absolutely have to pass Algebra II to avoid going through life as high school dropouts. We`re Not Kidding This Time!
It`s amusing to contemplate school board members trying to pass Algebra II.
Marion Brady writes in the Washington Post about a wealthy friend who is on a school board. He decided to take his district`s test for 10th graders.
“I won’t beat around the bush,” he wrote in an email. “The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that’s a “D”, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction.
He continued, “It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate.
“I help oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and am able to make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities.
“I have a wide circle of friends in various professions. Since taking the test, I’ve detailed its contents as best I can to many of them, particularly the math section, which does more than its share of shoving students in our system out of school and on to the street. Not a single one of them said that the math I described was necessary in their profession."
My view is that it`s very important that our society identify and educate the kids who can handle the standard algebra-calculus-and beyond math track required to be an engineer or the like. That justifies humiliating and wasting the time of the majority who can`t master the standard math track through calculus ... up to a point.
But, doesn`t anybody know of a study of what % of jobs require somebody to use Algebra II level math?