Tuesday, December 11, 2007
(Thanks to Jim Nintzel for the correction!)
The wonderfully wise (and I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek) Arizona Board of Education has done it again.
In order to better prepare students for the "real world," or at least college, they have upped the requirements for graduation. Now students need to have three math and three science credits to graduate.
While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that idea, I haven't heard how it will be paid for. Or if there is any plan to recruit more math and science people to teach the classes.
But what gets me is that the math requirements—at least according to what I've read so far—are Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II or an equivelent. School districts are allowed to play with that a little, but I know that if I had been made to take Algebra II, I'd still be in high school (or would have dropped out because I know I would never pass it).
And when have most of us used all those higher level algebra skills on a daily basis? Geometry, maybe. That is a skill used in many occupations.
A more sane solution would be for everyone to take a practical math class. This could consist of learning about bank accounts, loans, credit and budgets. Students could learn how to fill out a job application (I know that this is taught some places, because in a past life, I taught such topics). But still, in my day job, I see a lot of kids who can't do it. Lessons on writing a resume would work, too.
The Arizona Board of Education is a reactionary group of people who think they have great ideas, but in realityn have no idea how the world works.