April 4, 2011

The Deserving Dumb

From the Washington Post:
Requiring Algebra II in high school gains momentum nationwide
By Peter Whoriskey, Sunday, April , 7:57 PM 
With its intricate mysteries of quadratics, logarithms and imaginary numbers, Algebra II often provokes a lament from high-schoolers. What exactly does this have to do with real life? 
The answer: maybe more than anyone could have guessed. 
Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success, according to research that has launched a growing national movement to require it of graduates. In recent years, 20 states and the District have moved to raise graduation requirements to include Algebra II, and its complexities are being demanded of more and more students. 
The effort has been led by Achieve, a group organized by governors and business leaders and funded by corporations and their foundations, to improve the skills of the workforce. Although U.S. economic strength has been attributed in part to high levels of education, the workforce is lagging in the percentage of younger workers with college degrees, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
But exactly how to raise the education levels of the U.S. workforce is a matter of debate. And whether learning Algebra II causes students to fare better in life, or whether it is merely correlated with them doing better — because smart, motivated kids take Algebra II — isn’t clear. Meanwhile, some worry that Algebra II requirements are leading some young people to quit school.

The childishness of elite thinking today ...

You'd kind of hope that state governors and business titans like Bill Gates would form an Inner Party where, like O'Brien in 1984, they discuss policy more realistically than they do in public. But, is there any evidence for that? The education policy recommendations that Inner Party organizations like Achieve come up with sound like they were based in private on the same Oprahtastic thinking that is used to justify them in public.

Granted, if you demand more of young people, you will get somewhat more of what you demand, although probably not as much as you hoped. 

But there are predictable side effects. One problem is that credible demands include sticks as well as carrots, and the stick being talked about here is a big one: going through life as a high school dropout. 

I want to introduce a concept to public discussion based on the old Victorian concept of the Deserving Poor: the Deserving Dumb. There are many millions of children in America who, at least when it comes to passing a non-watered down version of Algebra II, are truly the Deserving Dumb. If you force them to take Algebra II, they will come to class, not disrupt the teacher, ask questions, try to do their homework, maybe get some afterschool tutoring. And they will still bomb the final and, thus, fail to graduate. They'll probably get GEDs later, but they still go through life as high school dropouts. They simply don't have the powers of abstraction necessary for Algebra II. 

In fact, under this system, the cleverer members of the Deserving Dumb will tend to drop out of high school earlier because they can read the handwriting on the wall. 

Moreover, the kids who should be taking Algebra II in public schools are likely to find their classes crammed with kids who just don't get it, thus bogging down the classes and boring the bright kids.

Overall, this Algebra II requirement to graduate has been talked about endlessly, frequently officially approved, but its actual implementation is usually repeatedly postponed at the last moment as the reality of the Deserving Dumb becomes manifest down in the trenches, and thus the Outer Party (e.g., school teachers) pushes back. But that doesn't stop the Inner Party from continuing to issue pronunciamentos about how Come Next Year we will require Algebra II to graduate. The Inner Party never learns.

By the way, very little thought has been devoted to developing carrots for the huge numbers of high school students who aren't going to get into selective colleges. The top quarter or so of teens are motivated to pile up an impressive Permanent Record to get into a fancy college and the bottom quarter or so of teens drop out of high school. But the middle 50 percent, especially the second quartile up from the bottom (roughly, kids with IQs in the 90s), doesn't have much motivation other than fear of not graduating from high school and thus not "walking the stage." Their plans are generally, "Well, I think I'll take some classes at the community college, or maybe get a job." So, they don't face many incentives in high school to try harder than the minimum to keep from flunking out. They know employers like high school grads over dropouts, but the usual entry level employers don't care much whether you got a 2.75 gpa or a 2.25 gpa as long as you graduated it, so why sweat it?

One thing that could be done is to make clear to high school students that they can't begin taking community college classes for credit if they get stuck in remedial courses, so expose them to the JC's test that gets you past remedial math and into the real stuff. That might encourage some to study harder in high school and discourage others from bothering with community college, which seems like a win-win to me, but not to the Obama Administration, which wants everybody to take a year of education after high school.

I don't have many other practical suggestions, but it would make sense for the Inner Party to think hard about problems like this rather than about how to sprinkle magic Algebra II dust on everybody.


78 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The Deserving Dumb" is something Mencken would have thought up. Sailer in 2012: A Vote for Me is a Vote to Help the Deserving Dumb!

But Steve, watch your usage of "it's" and "its" especially when writing about education!

Anyway, it'll never happen. The Southwest is going to have enough problems getting kids to pass English in the coming decades. Maybe some of the Canadianized northern states will try it, but everyone's too scared of dropout rates soaring.

Mac said...

"I want to introduce a concept to public discussion based on the old Victorian concept of the Deserving Poor: the Deserving Dumb."

For the sake of polite discussion I wish you found a better euphemism, but still something that needs brought up.

Yale-or-jail all over again.

Carol said...

Do they require Algebra I now for graduation? I know LA schools were making kids take it in 8th grade, causing an earlier trajectory toward dropout especially among NAMs and white trash.

I love math, but why up the requirements when it's clear the students are failing even current requirements? It's insane.

sabril said...

"whether it is merely correlated with them doing better — because smart, motivated kids take Algebra II — isn’t clear. "

It isn't clear to folks who are practiced in the art of squinting at reality.

Dutch Boy said...

You don't have to be dumb to fail Algebra II. Half the college prep kids I went to high school with failed Algebra I (at least the first time around - and that was before the Mexodus to CA filled the schools with blockheads).

Anonymous said...

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The students destined to be more successful naturally gravitate to Algebra II. Forcing those destined to be less successful to take Algebra II won't make them more successful.

Anonymous said...

"Do they require Algebra I now for graduation? I know LA schools were making kids take it in 8th grade, causing an earlier trajectory toward dropout especially among NAMs and white trash."

Please use the term poor whites or low IQ whites or something, anything other than the term "white trash"....which is insulting rather than descriptive.

Paul said...

I, for one, can't think of anything more likely to improve classroom behavior, raise student self-esteem and lower dropout rates than requiring that every American high school student take Algebra II!

Svigor said...

Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success

Oh FFS. Applying for college is probably a leading predictor too. Why not just force everyone to apply to college?

Anonymous said...

Here's a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the IQs necessary to really "grok" the subject, i.e. to actually understand what you're doing, and not be merely a receptacle for Pavlovian conditioning:


Addition & Subtraction: IQ 90-94

Mulitiplication & Division: IQ 95-99

Fractions & Percentages: IQ 100-104

Algebra I: IQ 105-109

Geometry: IQ 110-114

Algebra II: IQ 115-119

Calculus: IQ 120+


So for the classical European-American "White" population, my guess is that true [non-Pavlovian] Algebra II skillz live at about IQ 115 = +1 Standard Deviation = about the 84th Percentile.

So only about 16 percent of the White population would really be able to "grok" [non-Pavlovian] Algebra II.

Now as to watered-down Pavlovian Algebra II, who knows?

I certainly don't know how unrecognizable they could make it, although I imagine they'll try.

PS: When you get out to the 84th percentile, with only about 16% of students fit to graduate from high school, then you're actually talking about a return to 19th Century standards for secondary education [where it was understood that the vast majority of the population wouldn't progress beyond about the 8th grade, pretty much in line with my back-of-the-envelope IQ calculations, as above].

Svigor said...

But Steve, watch your usage of "it's" and "its" especially when writing about education!

Best advice on that I can give to people who have trouble with this is when you don't have time to proofread, just forgo the apostrophe on the contraction. It's easy to pass that off as an omission, whereas putting an apostrophe where it doesn't belong just looks dumb, even when it really is a typo/brain fart.

Anonymous said...

Algebra II to graduate from high school seems like social policy written by a slacker (as opposed to deserving) C student, to me.

I think it's a problem of the distance between A & B. A=schelling points for elites that allow them to coordinate, B=where optimized policy actually should end up.

Hopefully Anonymous
http://www.hopeanon.typepad.com

Tom in Va said...

The problem with the Inner Party members is that they don't ever rub shoulders with real proles, they're too busy talking to each other at Davos.

Rick Nevin said...

Since 1990, the highschool dropout rate has fallen and college enrollment rates and average SAT scores have increased. The high school dropout rate increased in the 1970s for the same reason that it increased in the 1880s.

Laban said...

"Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success"

Because you have to be bright to pass it !

Jonathan Silber said...

Kids need to master imaginary numbers in Algebra II for success in one of the millions of imaginary jobs Obama's been creating or saving.

Tom in Va again said...

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/101219_pisa.htm

I found the above link and a nice summary of the column in the Post's comment section. Immanuel Goldstein-Sailer's crimethink is spreading!

Anonymous said...

"Best advice on that I can give to people who have trouble with this is when you don't have time to proofread, just forgo the apostrophe on the contraction. It's easy to pass that off as an omission, whereas putting an apostrophe where it doesn't belong just looks dumb, even when it really is a typo/brain fart."

This is great advice.

Anonymous said...

I've got an even better idea. Let's make it a requirement that in order to graduate high school, you must not have a baby or get entangled with the juvenile legal system! Say goodbye to teen pregnancy and youth crime!

Anonymous said...

Why not come up with something called Obamath for black student?

Obamath 101: "Don't make sudden moves and the white man will give you $1,000,000"

Obamath 201: "Shake the white man's hand with a smile and the white man will spend millions to make you Senator".

Obamath 301: "Act 'profoundly humble' and say lots of Oprahesque crap to white folks, and white folks will donate $750 million to make you President."

Obamath 401: "After the presidency, make $100 million in no time by making speeches for $1 million a piece."

Anonymous said...

"I've got an even better idea. Let's make it a requirement that in order to graduate high school, you must not have a baby or get entangled with the juvenile legal system! Say goodbye to teen pregnancy and youth crime!"

But dropping out and collecting welfare forever is a better deal.

Anonymous said...

You gotta make learning fun and relevant to kids, especially 'inner city' kids.
So how about Crackulus, the math necessary in dealing drugs?

Chicago said...

Maybe teaching it is outdated, just like penmanship has gone by the wayside. Everyone uses calculators to do the math nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should also have to run a 4.7 40 yard dash to graduate .

Anonymous said...

What kind of blithering moron needs to ask what good Algebra II is in real life? It's not exactly group theory.

Anonymous said...

"I want to introduce a concept to public discussion based on the old Victorian concept of the Deserving Poor: the Deserving Dumb."

Hey, we can have fun with this...

Deserving Klutz. They really try to do well in sports, but when it comes to the basketball tryout, they just can't shoot the hoop.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the Inner Party members is that they don't ever rub shoulders with real proles, they're too busy talking to each other at Davos.

No, they're too busy kowtowing to Davros (note spelling) and his mechanical flunkies in the Elite Scientific Unit.

Anonymous said...

Deserving Putz: They really try to be likable and cool but come across socially inept nerds.

Felix said...

You gotta make learning fun and relevant to kids, especially 'inner city' kids.
So how about Crackulus, the math necessary in dealing drugs?


Win! good sir!

steve burton said...

If the deserving dumb were to start opposing stuff like this, I might start caring about them.

Unfortunately, the deserving dumb are...dumb.

Anonymous said...

", then you're actually talking about a return to 19th Century standards for secondary education [where it was understood that the vast majority of the population wouldn't progress beyond about the 8th grade, "

They always talk about the past(even th 1940's -50) like everyone was reading Shakespeare on the weekends, but they were really reading comic books.

Anonymous said...

So, no matter how one looks at it, Deserving Dumb will be serving the smart.

Anonymous said...

Ever see the movie CHARLY? Not very good but interesting topic and sci-fi idea.

Anonymous said...

What does it matter? Harvard and Yale guys rule Wall Street,and I'm sure they were good at math, but they came up with the mathetmatical models that brought about the Great Recession.

What they really tough in high school is

Character 101

Truth 101

Reality Check 101

Olave d'Estienne said...

Svigor, you have the most unique take on practicality of anyone I know. That's really not a put-down. I just mean ... whoa ... unique.

Anonymous said...

"Granted, if you demand more of young people, you will get somewhat more of what you demand, although probably not as much as you hoped."


How about if we first raised behavioral standards? We already know kids are capable of better behavior because their grandparents were doing it before back in the '50's. Whereas there is no reasonable basis to expect these folks to now pass Alg II. Their grandparents sure didn't pass Alg II.

Anonymous said...

If you had to pass Algebra II to get into college the percentage of black students in particular would precipitously fall. That alone will keep it from happening.

Truth said...

"Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success"

Because you have to be bright to pass it !"

And Brilliant to deduce what Sailer was trying to say!

SFG said...

"No, they're too busy kowtowing to Davros (note spelling) and his mechanical flunkies in the Elite Scientific Unit."

He was the creator of the Daleks, the alien race who wanted to EX-TER-MI-NATE all other races in Dr. Who, in case the American non-nerds here don't get it.

Actually, since the Daleks were based on the Nazis (Terry Nation and Co. had been kids during WWII), and the elite's probably pretty Jewish, this is sort of backwards...

Anonymous said...

Chicago:

Maybe teaching it is outdated, just like penmanship has gone by the wayside. Everyone uses calculators to do the math nowadays.

I was thinking somewhat along the same tangent. In my time, pubic skools didn't even touch algebra until grade 10. Before then it was all artihmetic, doing long division of six-digit numbers in your head, and calculators were an "expensive toy of Satan" that had no future.

That probably turned a lot of students off real math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus) and real science, and into the fine arts. Or into driving trucks for a living.

Anonymous said...

How about if we first raised behavioral standards? We already know kids are capable of better behavior because their grandparents were doing it before back in the '50's

No, they weren't.

They were just lying hypocrites about their supposed "good behavior". If anything, kids behave better now, and are a thousand times more tolerant, and a million times more honest.

If you must blame one generation, it would have to be the baby boomers.

Polistra said...

Deserving Dumb is an excellent concept, but Steve is overthinking the whole problem.

The Inner Party will NEVER require Algebra II for everybody because the entire goal of public education is to select girls for high-status positions and kick out boys. Any requirement that will favor boys is a non-starter.

Gene Berman said...

Jonathan Silber:

You're right on target about the imaginary numbers for imaginary jobs. But you forgot about the (easier to handle) negative numbers for negative (government work) jobs.

Anonymous said...

maybe the Inner Party likes to have crises. If there are none, they can invent some. They don't have to make sense, just sound passably non-ridiculous in New York Times. How are you supposed to bring about change we can believe in if everybody knows that things cannot realistically improve? What you need is empty promises to fix non-existent problems, and black mathematical studies provide a wide scope for that.

Shawn said...

As the author notes Algebra II will never be used in real life. It really is a waste of time for 99% of people. The only people who need it are engineers (maybe) and mathematicians (and a a very few other select fields).

Of course, to predict performance in college a much faster way would be a quick & dirty Wordsum test or the Wonderlic.

international Jew said...

Algebra II is what Latin was two or three generations back: a subject you'll never use later in life that is however good for signaling your general intelligence and persistence and is thought to train your mind to think logically. Except that Latin might be marginally more useful as it improves your English and, if your course includes some reading, teaches you about an interesting culture. They should junk Algebra II and go back to Latin.

Anonymous said...

I have a BS in math and work as a programmer. I use algebra II stuff rarely, like once in a blue moon.

My guess is that these people are pushing it because its a quest for them. They saw the Jaime Escalante story and they want every kid, every class, to be like that, regardless of the utility.

They have no problem playing with kids future's as long as their dreams are so pretty.

none of the above said...

Algebra 2 is at the sweet spot of college educated delusion--just hard enough to exclude a lot of people, without being hard enough that this is obvious to the sort of people who read newspapers and follow politics and bother to vote.

If you said "we're going to require a 5 on the AP Calculus Exam to graduate," lots of those same people would realize that they'd have had a hard time graduating with this requirement. The smarter and more mathy folks who could have gotten past that requirement would at least be able to think of friends and family members who would have been prevented from graduating high school by such a requirement.

Anonymous said...

How about a "tiered" diploma from high school? A bottom-tier diploma lets an employer know that the graduate can read, write, do basic arithmetic, and knows some basic history, biology, etc. A mid-tier diploma indicates that the graduate also knows some basic chemistry, physics, algebra I. A top-tier diploma means the grad is definitely college material and knows calculus, physics II, chem II, etc.

Or would that be violating the kids' civil rights?

eh said...

...will tend to drop out of high school earlier...

Would probably be better for the country in the long run. In an open some more eyes sense.

See, like I told you: They'll never give up.

Anonymous said...

Some schools will settle for Attendence 101.

Anonymous said...

What about the UNDESERVING SMARTIES. They are smart, they succeed, but with all their power, they make society worse than it is.

Anonymous said...

They always talk about the past(even th 1940's -50) like everyone was reading Shakespeare on the weekends, but they were really reading comic books.

I know you're making a joke, but in the 19th Century [and the early 20th Century], a high school diploma was for the 16% at IQ 115, and a college education was for no more than the 10% out at IQ 120+.

The center of the bell curve - at IQ 95, 100, and 105 - advanced no higher than about the 8th grade [and often less than that].

I.e. statistically speaking, "they" really were a helluva lot smarter than "we" are nowadays.

spandrell said...

I failed Algebra II but I graduated from college with all As, can read Latin, Chinese and Japanese (I'm white).
Am I dumb or what?
Fuck math anyway

headache said...

Easiest way to remedy the poor school performance problem is to regulate immigration and drop AA. Of course that is NEVER going to happen.

John Mansfield said...

When I was in 9th grade, I had a friend in 10th grade who was having trouble with Algebra I. He asked me to come over and help him with it. I think I walked over, but after the tutoring sessions, his father would drive me the half mile home. Riding home, the father told me of how his boss had taught him long ago on the job how fractions on a tape measure work, and he was grateful to me. Looking back, I think it had been the father who told his struggling son to call some smart friend to come help him learn math. I knew that family for many years. The father was a good man who cared about and cared for his family. We seem to have less and less use for men like him.

none of the above said...

The only way to understand this is to think of it in statistical terms, involving intelligence. Assuming whites have a mean IQ of 100, blacks have a mean IQ of 85, and both have a standard deviation of 15, we get this kind of choice:

a. Graduating high school requires an IQ around 100. Half of all whites and 15% of all blacks graduate high school.

b. You need an 85 IQ to be bright enough to get a high school diploma. We get about half the black population and 84% of the white population graduating.

c. We require a 70 IQ to be bright enough to get a high school diploma. We get about 98% of the white population and 84% of the black population graduating.

My understanding is that (b) would give you a situation where most high school graduates would qualify in intelligence terms to join the Army. (They don't like to recruit people much below an IQ of 90.)

Current national graduation rates for whites are 76%, and for blacks are 55%. If we assumed this was based on IQ, we'd say whites needed an IQ of about 90 to graduate, and blacks needed an IQ of around than 86 to graduate. (That's consistent with blacks attending less demanding schools on average.)

Now, lots more than IQ goes into graduation. But this is a nice first cut, and it shows the critical issue: The only way to get black graduation rates pretty high, assuming the IQ difference reflects a difference in ability at school, is to drop the standards for graduating to the point where nearly all white students will graduate. And current national graduation rates are sort-of consistent with requiring an IQ of between 86 and 90 to graduate.

This is back of the envelope calculation, but tragically, it's not part of the mainstream discussion on how to run schools. Which means we'll keep seeing silly articles like the one Steve referenced here, imagining that if only we demanded enough of our kids, we'd turn them all into college material, perhaps all into doctors and engineers and financiers.

Lucille said...

How about a "tiered" diploma from high school?

We do, in a way, have tiers. GED, standard diploma, and AP, NHS, and IB programs.

In addition, even among standard public high schools, some have a better reputation than others.

wwwww said...

the obama administration would sue over disparate impact if any company used algebra 2 in hiring

Anonymous said...

Are there any jobs out there paying the median US salary that require Algebra II?

Mr. Anon said...

Algebra II? No, that's just not good enough. Let's up the ante. Why, every high-school student should be able to calculate a Fourier transform and solve second-order partial differential equations. Or why even stop there? Let's demand that every high-school student pass analysis, or modern algebra, or analytic topology. To do less would be to give in to the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Eugene said...

Related thoughts here by Car Talk guy (and MIT grad) Tom Magliozzi: "The purpose of learning math, which most of us will never use, is only to prepare us for further math courses . . . which we will use even less frequently than never."

John Mansfield said...

The comments above about Latin vs. algebra bring to mind Katharine Wright, sister of Wilbur and Orville. Unlike her brothers, she was a college graduate, and she taught high school Latin. Given her classical education, of which mathematics was also properly a part, Europeans figured she must be the secret genius behind her brothers' success. She is the subject of an excellent short book, The Wright Sister, by Richard Maurer.

Anonymous said...

The Smurf TV show had a multicultural agenda. They had an episode once where in order to honor the Arabs they gave a problem that could be best solved algebraically. The Arab Smurf produced the appropriate equation and then solved it.

They didn't seem to know or care that the Arabs (the word algebra is arabic) learned most of their math from the Indians who had in turn learned it from the Diophantine Greeks. They wanted to demonstrate something nice about the Arabs.

The problem was more of an Algebra I problem rather than an Algebra II problem. But even so it was too hard for most people not actively studying algebra at the time.

I used to present what I called Smurf algebra to my undergraduate statistics classes. I never had a stat student who could solve it, although all of them had met the algebra entrance requirement.

I did this for purposes of humiliation. Self esteem is not a good motivator. The Home Boys don't brag about their good algebra grades.

There are nearly three and a half million Google hits for "algebra success by race". It is a very popular research topic. The studies typically break out algebra success by race and sex. Just as Rushton would have predicted Asians do well, Blacks don't. There are literally hundreds (thousands?) of proposed remedies.

My advice: try humiliation.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

But Steve, watch your usage of "it's" and "its" especially when writing about education!

Suddenly when I upgraded to Explorer 9 my Google Toolbar spell checker disappeared. I find it hard now to post comments that are not full of spelling and/or typing errors.

The next generation checkers will consider context.

Then the its - it's issue will be solved and more importantly the you're - your distinction. And also they're - there - their.

I expect that soon your computer editor will be able to give your writings a full Strunk and White review at the push of a button.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Taken to its logical conclusion, shouldn't we be mandating that students pass Calculus II before graduating?

Anonymous said...

What always strikes me about the way the bar gets set by the education/social mavens is that it seems not to be based in any way in established fact.

I mean, I'm sure that if success in Algebra II is well correlated with success further on in life, then so, likewise, is success in AP Calculus.

Yet no one pretends (that I know of) that everyone can be made to pass AP Calculus. Somehow, it's understood that that would be, well, a bar too far.

But on what basis can anyone reasonably believe that all or most HS students might really master Algebra II? Who decides that, and why?

It's as if some educator, somewhere, simply gets it into his head that, by gum, Algebra II just isn't THAT hard, and everyone can do it, if they and their teachers put in an honest effort. And that intuition goes from that guy's gut to Arne Duncan's fevered imagination.

What it has to do with reality -- who knows?

AllanF said...

For the Inner Circle, Community College is win-win.

Have you looked at the 20-something unemployment rates. Or the labor force participation rates?

At this point, every year you can keep a kid out of the labor force is a win. That they are creating demand for a govt subsidized service is the other win.

That it creates an over-credentialed, under-educated disenfranchised class of malcontents a la the Middle East, well... by the time it matters, that will be someone else's problem.

Anonymous said...

"I failed Algebra II but I graduated from college with all As, can read Latin, Chinese and Japanese (I'm white).
Am I dumb or what?
Fuck math anyway"

Hasn't math become a defacto Asian language? Then you should have no problem learning it.

Flowers for Algebra.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea. Didn't liberals say Joe Camel led more young people to smoke?

How about public schools create a character named Al Joe Bro, who is one cool cat who be into math and shit. And he shows how math be related to everything that be cool.

Svigor said...

If you must blame one generation, it would have to be the baby boomers.

But the greatest generation raised these cretins, no?

I failed Algebra II but I graduated from college with all As, can read Latin, Chinese and Japanese (I'm white).
Am I dumb or what?
Fuck math anyway


Higher math is the only subject (IME) that actually forces you to use your brain like a muscle. I.e., it doesn't come easily just because you're smart. You have to force your brain to work. It helps to have a good teacher, one who actually understands the subject, because I've never learned a goddamned bit of math from a book.

Anonymous said...

http://www.aboyandhiscomputer.com/Dem_Rep_compare.html

Anonymous said...

"Taken to its logical conclusion, shouldn't we be mandating that students pass Calculus II before graduating?"

Hmm.. maybe the hidden plan is to make more students drop out.

Another thing... do we have enough competent teachers to teach Algebra II? Maybe the hidden agenda is to fire a lot of bad math teachers; 'bad' as in black.

Doug1 said...

I was taught algebra II minus all but the very most elementary statistics, in 8th grade. Well elements of it in 7th grade. Of course you had to pass an IQ test to be admitted to my private elementary and middle school. It wasn't that hard an IQ test though, judging by some of my classmates. Though I think you probably had to be at least somewhat above average (white) IQ.

David said...

>They simply don't have the powers of abstraction necessary for Algebra II.<

Even after studying 10,000 hours with Tiger Mom??

Spandrell said...

>>svigor

Well that rings a bell, my teachers sucked and my work ethic too. Don't remember doing homework on time ever, yet here I am, college graduate.
Keeping a job is proving hard though

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Florida resident said...

Sorry for finding lately this post from "educationrealist" comment by Black_Rose:
http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/pre-calc-preparation/#comment-1962

When my (F.r.) daughter was in High School (and two sons were in or above college), I told her several times:
"If I will die before you finish your education,
you _must_ take "Linear Algebra" course,
and then do whatever you want with your life."
Now she did it twice, and after that she got Ph.D. from UCSF at age 26.
It means that I am free to die now.
Or does it ?