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I never said not to teach the other 80%, they will
still learn.  But if you don't meet the needs of
the 10-15%, then you won't have as competent group
of mathematicians and scientists in the future.
It is that group that decides to go into
Engineering, for instance, because they understand
they have that math ability.  Now some have a
misplaced sense of accomplishment, and may waste
their time going into a field that doesn't suit
them.

It seems to me 80-85% of the students were not
failing when I was in school, it seems to me most
did.  I was a merely average student in math.  Yet
it was still strong enough of a background for me
to get my Master's in mathematics.  Many of the
students I see have A's in high school math, yet
have much more difficulty with math than I did at
the undergraduate level.

Ask the English teachers to loosen up what they
teach since not everyone is going to write a
book.  Ask the history teachers to lighten up
since not everyone is going to be a historian.
Ask the Gym teachers to take it easy on everyone
since most won't become professional athletes.
Tell the music teacher that the students only have
to play the song once, and then assume they know
it well enough to play it any time in the future.

The math being taught out there in the public
schools is not strong enough.  Eight years ago we
started offering Pre-Calculus for students with
weak backgrounds.  Forty students out of 600 would
take this course.  Now using the same placement
exams, having mostly students from the same high
schools that we did then, we should be placing 300
out of the 600 into Pre-Calculus (Instead they
lowered the standard to be placed into Calculus
and only 240 end up in Pre-Calc).

I am not against everything about reform.  I am
against removing the elements of memorization and
practice that are crucial to mastering
mathematics.  Much of reform tends to eliminate
those.


Eric Kaljumagi wrote:
>
> > I just wish that the "Math Education" people, who
> > ultimately make the decisions on how best to teach
> > pre-college students, would listen to
> > "Mathematicians" who know what level of math
> > understanding is necessary for students to succeed
> > in math, science, and engineering degrees.
> Roughly 25% of high school juniors go on to earn bachelor's degrees.
> I'm guessing that at most half of these are in the sciences.
> Mathematicians (of which I am one) without an educational
> background only understand the needs of 10 - 15% of
> students.  Why not teach the other 80+% too?
>
> Prof. Eric Kaljumagi
> LAC/Math
> Mt. San Antonio College

--
Craig Andres
Director, Study Abroad and Tutor Program
Kettering University
(Continuing the GMI heritage)

email: [log in to unmask]
Phone: (810)-762-9642
Fax: (810)-762-9505


"We must look forward to the future as that is
where most of us will be spending the rest of our
lives."  Charles Kettering.