“only what is needed”

Posted on May 7, 2013


“Amid a national push to lift high-school standards in the U.S., a new study recommends a different approach for students who go on to community college, one that emphasizes basic subjects to provide them with only the skills they would need to succeed in their future careers.”

That’s the opening of

New Course Recommended for Some High-School Students in the Wall Street Journal.

I stop right there.   Clearly the author has no idea how many students *take* college math and *don’t* learn even the skill they need, those clearly disdained “basic subjects.”

Okay, I read on, and The quotes in the article do hint at that, going on to give the stats for the students who never make it through college, and that the rationale for this suggestion is that students take classes in high school that they don’t comprehend, so they aren’t ready for the even higher stuff in college.

Predictably, the comments include “well, lots of people aren’t smart enough for math anyway, so this is a good idea” as a strong theme, and one saying that passing students in those hard courses in high school might be the problem. (Happily, the comments aren’t as insulting as I’ve seen…)

I would rather like to see the students learn the basics well in high school, ya know… but real *math* “basics,” not “how to balance your checkbook” basics.

Posted in: math