U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-24-2010, 08:34 PM
 
Location: St. Paul
198 posts, read 425,268 times
Reputation: 326

Advertisements

A professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois wrote an interesting opinion piece in Saturday's Washington post, arguing that contrary to conventional wisdom, educational institutions in the United States are teaching more math than warranted and questioning the utility of learning advanced math for most people.

I personally enjoy math, believe strongly in its mind stretching properties, and will encourage my kids to take as much of it as possible. Nonetheless, I found the professor's opinion thought provoking, well written, and certainly worthy of consideration.

I am curious to hear others' reactions, and I would encourage folks to actually read the piece before responding. The link is below.


washingtonpost.com
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-24-2010, 08:51 PM
 
5,569 posts, read 7,679,927 times
Reputation: 5830
I love math. I even went through calculus 3 in college, but I see no reason to have done so other than my enjoyment of math. The only math I use in my day to day life is keeping a running tab in my head when shopping.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2010, 09:08 PM
 
1,964 posts, read 4,444,548 times
Reputation: 1616
I think this vein of thinking goes hand-in-hand with those who question whether the majority of US students should even be tracked for college, in lieu of more "practical" hands-on apprenticeship-based programs, such as you find in Europe.

The professor argues that math aptitude has remained stagnant despite a great push for reform in teaching methodologies in the 1980's and we've wasted precious educational resources just spinning our wheels. However, I think despite the lack of higher test scores we've see the impact of math education in the explosion of 21st century tech trends like cellular communication, the Internet/www, biotech & even finance/investing. America is a leader in all these knowledge-intense fields and it's doubtful we'd be in this position had we shortchanged our youth 20 or 30 yrs ago by lowering math/science requirements.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2010, 10:03 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,561,955 times
Reputation: 26003
Not everyone is going to be able to do math, no matter how much tutoring, and time they spend on it. My daughter is like this, she just does not get "it". In HS, Algebra has been the bane of my life, trying to get her passed this class, Some kids just don't get math....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2010, 11:24 PM
 
15,334 posts, read 16,920,255 times
Reputation: 15069
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
Not everyone is going to be able to do math, no matter how much tutoring, and time they spend on it. My daughter is like this, she just does not get "it". In HS, Algebra has been the bane of my life, trying to get her passed this class, Some kids just don't get math....
Not everyone is going to be able to read, no matter how much tutoring and time then spend on it. Some kids just don't get reading...

Does that sound right?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2010, 11:43 PM
 
15,334 posts, read 16,920,255 times
Reputation: 15069
I looked up the author and found that he is a statistician.

It is interesting to me that he thinks that most people will have no use for math since statistics *are* important in terms of people being able to judge things we vote for.

How can you evaluate which life insurance or health insurance policy is right for you without a knowledge of statistics? The fact is you cannot and this is why many people get taken for a lot of money. How can you understand election predictions without a knowledge of statistics? You can't. How can you evaluate anything without some idea of what statistics mean?

if you are innumerate, it is likely that you are losing money because of your everyday banking decisions. Many people collect only 1 to 3% interest on money in a savings account while simultaneously paying rates as high as 18 to 20% on credit card balances.

If you don't understand basic geometry (and especially areas and perimeters), how do you figure out whether or not that carpet company or fence company is charging you too much?

What do you think contributed in large part to the housing crisis we are going through?

The Worry Free Life: Innumeracy
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2010, 12:19 AM
 
Location: maryland
3,967 posts, read 5,694,785 times
Reputation: 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I looked up the author and found that he is a statistician.

It is interesting to me that he thinks that most people will have no use for math since statistics *are* important in terms of people being able to judge things we vote for.

How can you evaluate which life insurance or health insurance policy is right for you without a knowledge of statistics? The fact is you cannot and this is why many people get taken for a lot of money. How can you understand election predictions without a knowledge of statistics? You can't. How can you evaluate anything without some idea of what statistics mean?

if you are innumerate, it is likely that you are losing money because of your everyday banking decisions. Many people collect only 1 to 3% interest on money in a savings account while simultaneously paying rates as high as 18 to 20% on credit card balances.

If you don't understand basic geometry (and especially areas and perimeters), how do you figure out whether or not that carpet company or fence company is charging you too much?

What do you think contributed in large part to the housing crisis we are going through?

The Worry Free Life: Innumeracy
I think he means advanced math and not basic math. Why should someone going for a law degree need to study calculus for example?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2010, 12:21 AM
 
Location: maryland
3,967 posts, read 5,694,785 times
Reputation: 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by smokingGun View Post
I think this vein of thinking goes hand-in-hand with those who question whether the majority of US students should even be tracked for college, in lieu of more "practical" hands-on apprenticeship-based programs, such as you find in Europe.

The professor argues that math aptitude has remained stagnant despite a great push for reform in teaching methodologies in the 1980's and we've wasted precious educational resources just spinning our wheels. However, I think despite the lack of higher test scores we've see the impact of math education in the explosion of 21st century tech trends like cellular communication, the Internet/www, biotech & even finance/investing. America is a leader in all these knowledge-intense fields and it's doubtful we'd be in this position had we shortchanged our youth 20 or 30 yrs ago by lowering math/science requirements.

American companies are at the forefront...that does not mean the engineers in them are nothing but americans however does it? People who are into math are going to learn it because they enjoy it. You are not going to make most people enjoy it by forcing them into it. We would still be on top even without those standards.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2010, 12:33 AM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,561,955 times
Reputation: 26003
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Not everyone is going to be able to read, no matter how much tutoring and time then spend on it. Some kids just don't get reading...

Does that sound right?
Yes, it does. Some children have severe learning disabilities...Does that sound right?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2010, 07:31 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,527,702 times
Reputation: 10476
Quote:
Originally Posted by paganmama80 View Post
I think he means advanced math and not basic math. Why should someone going for a law degree need to study calculus for example?
Why, because it expands their minds. Do you REALLY want to live in a society where people ONLY study what they will do for a living? Do you realize that by doing this we would actually go BACKWARDS educationally. Much of education is exposure to ideas, concepts, ways of thinking. One of the most important things I learned in college was to look at issues from many different perspectives. I think there is a GREAT need for this in our society and not enough people learn how to do this because they are so focused on 2+2. Just think how much more reasonable our society would be if people could see things from other's perspective.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top