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Old 11-11-2019, 09:45 AM
 
30 posts, read 15,552 times
Reputation: 86

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Many jobs require a high school diploma, even if abstract algebra or analyzing complex literature is not part of the job. Yet abstract algebra and advanced mathematics is often a requirement for a diploma. Some students will never understand it no matter what, even with intensive tutoring. I do think all students should learn statistical algebra, like mortgages, finance, budgeting, percentages, loans, compounding interest, graphs, fractions, data plots, etc. Abstract algebra should be optional. I am referring to solving equations like 2(x2-1)+3x(x+ 4) or finding the function or the value of X.

I checked the requirements for a security position in my county’s library system. The security job duties patrolling the library, providing exceptional customer service, aiding sick and injured people, confronting and de-escalating problems and informing departments on fire/safety issues. This job requires a high school diploma and the posting said some college preferred, even though you won't be finding the value of X, analyzing complex literature or reciting the byzantine empire conquest as part of the job. Even a custodian position at the library requires a diploma. I understand custodians have to have knowledge on proper use and safe disposal of chemicals, but that stuff is not taught in high school.

We should have a system like Britain, where you get a GCSE in each subject. A student can get a GCSE in an electricians class or marketing class and work at a related field. High school should have more career-related classes. I do support graduation requirements being the bare minimum to tell employers you can work compose a professional email, understand basic math like I described above, etc.

We should also stop telling students that everyone should go to college, or college is the only way to achieve economic success. Encourage apprenticeships, vocational schools, etc. Get students thinking about different career options and maybe have them try out different careers so they will have a better idea about what they want to do.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:25 AM
 
8,641 posts, read 3,997,303 times
Reputation: 24345
Yes, it should.

Being able to handle abstract concepts, like substituting a letter in the general sense for a specific number, is one of the basic characteristics of an educated person.

Completion of secondary education should imply that one is capable of more than simply pushing buttons in order like a trained seal.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:43 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
33,087 posts, read 60,089,538 times
Reputation: 36552
High school education has not been about preparing one for getting a job/career since the 1950s, when they had Home Economics, Shop classes, and taught things like sewing, cooking, wood shop, home repairs, auto repair. Since then it's been all about preparing for college. If the college math curriculum requires "abstract algebra" then the high schools will teach it. Our local high school, for example, publishes their college placement data. For the class of 2018 93% went to a 4 year college, 5% to a community college, only 2% did not go to college. On their website I can see the classes offered on their course catalog. Despite the high college prep., Computer Science, honors classes and STEM emphasis, they do still at least offer visual and performing arts. There are opportunities to study Automotive Technology, culinary arts, dental careers, Fire & EMS and more for Juniors and seniors, but they must travel to a different high school or community college for that part of the day. Even those that do end up going to college.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:20 AM
 
Location: London
44 posts, read 21,383 times
Reputation: 125
High school education is so dumbed down that many can barely read or think critically. And dumbing it down even more will solve the problem. What an idiotic statement!
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
10,841 posts, read 9,656,051 times
Reputation: 18235
Algebra should absolutely be included in a HS curriculum. Looking at jobs that don’t require algebra as a justification for eliminating it is a weak argument. Look at all the jobs that do require it. Not teaching a basic mathematical skill such as this does a huge disservice to everybody.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Texas
13,479 posts, read 5,528,375 times
Reputation: 25876
Algebra isn't hard. But I think high schools should offer some free tutoring for kids who can't quite grasp it.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:48 AM
 
6,196 posts, read 2,738,031 times
Reputation: 11921
I worked at a job that was primarily people who were social workers. They had to do lots of algebra as part of that job. The people who really had never learned how to do it struggled with some aspects of the job. I didn’t do that well in algebra in high school, but I was glad I learned it. I have found it to be incredibly useful since I have graduated.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:13 PM
 
30 posts, read 15,552 times
Reputation: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
Yes, it should.

Being able to handle abstract concepts, like substituting a letter in the general sense for a specific number, is one of the basic characteristics of an educated person.

Completion of secondary education should imply that one is capable of more than simply pushing buttons in order like a trained seal.
I agree if the abstract concepts are very basic.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:26 PM
 
30 posts, read 15,552 times
Reputation: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
High school education has not been about preparing one for getting a job/career since the 1950s, when they had Home Economics, Shop classes, and taught things like sewing, cooking, wood shop, home repairs, auto repair. Since then it's been all about preparing for college. If the college math curriculum requires "abstract algebra" then the high schools will teach it. Our local high school, for example, publishes their college placement data. For the class of 2018 93% went to a 4 year college, 5% to a community college, only 2% did not go to college. On their website I can see the classes offered on their course catalog. Despite the high college prep., Computer Science, honors classes and STEM emphasis, they do still at least offer visual and performing arts. There are opportunities to study Automotive Technology, culinary arts, dental careers, Fire & EMS and more for Juniors and seniors, but they must travel to a different high school or community college for that part of the day. Even those that do end up going to college.
This is why we should have tracking for kids who want to go to college and who want to take a different path. I personally hate how school push the “everyone should go to college” or “you need to go to college to be successful” mentality. Not everyone should go to college. My high school had a “college office” where it was all about college but they never mentioned vocational schools, apprenticeships, vocational rehabilitation and other job training. It should be the “college and career office” and provide actual career and vocational information.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:28 PM
 
8,210 posts, read 4,635,902 times
Reputation: 22206
The purpose of learning algebra isn't about finding X. Or about trains leaving LA and Chicago. It's about being able to think logically. To solve abstract problems logically. Even many of those trades you mentioned highly depend on algebra and geometry; they just don't realize that's what they're doing when laying out cuts for everything from roof pitch to stairs to block courses, HVAC, everything.
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