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future teacher in st. louis, mo

We need to take a stance and

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We need to take a stance and find out how can we reach the students that places the student in a good place regarding math. I'm going to continue to encourage others with and find a way to explain in simple terms as much as possible.

Science Evangelist

Yes there is a problem, which

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Yes there is a problem, which you spell out so eloquently. But throwing hands up in the air won't solve it. As my dad would say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So we must speak truth to power whenever and wherever we can. It won't be easy, but changing the world never is.

Apathy is easy. Hope takes courage. Be courageous.

Let me be clear. As a

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Let me be clear. As a minority myself, I completed my B.S. in Statistics at the University of California, Davis and took several upper division math classes at UC Berkeley through a cross enrollment program. I am well aware of the commitment it takes to succeed, especially in an ultra competitive environment where you are the only Black, and sometimes only American, student in your class. I am in no way advocating that we teach to the test or see to it that everyone get an A to feel good. However, I am of the view that to make math more valuable in society at all levels, we need to rid this notion of math being only accessible for some and not all. Yes, curriculum should be challenging and engaging, but not to the point of general discouragement, as we as a country have created.

[quote]It's a sad fact that this country has created, yet again, an obvious contradiction in its "values as a society" and how to go about making those values a reality. At a time when we need more disadvantaged groups involved in math and science to propel the country further, higher education does not want advancement and could care less about our youth.

Question? How can President Obama call for more engineers in America when at many university's only the top 2% of students in a class of 250 taking Linear Algebra are allowed to get A grades while the rest MUST get B's or C's due to grading "policy"? How does this move us forward as a math literate country? Why SHOULD a student care when in this case, no matter how hard he or she works, they are still subject to getting a B or less once the final grades have been calculated? How does having professors who give extremely hard exams such as knowing full well that to answer all questions accurately on tests it takes more time than allowed, beneficial to math education? Again, why SHOULD students care when many so-called "educators" stack the odds against them, even those with a genuine interest and love for the subject?

And graduate schools could care less of whether or not you had an incompetent professor, just as long as you get the grade. But then again, we need to keep those numbers low too. God forbid we have too many individuals who actually survive an undergraduate program in math or science move on, especially women and minorities. That's simply not how things are supposed to be.

But wait, I thought this concept of "working hard" applied to all things in life? Let me stop. How could I have been so blind? Surely, America's dislike with math is clearly the fault of lazy, slothful, and unmotivated students and NEVER that of anyone else. Right?

Excellent, well-written article Ainissa. It's just a shame that the knowledge you speak will continue to fall on the deaf ears of the academic elitists who hypocritically cry "progress" while their actions and pedagogy show blatant cultural and social selection to those deemed "fit" enough.[/quote]

It's a sad fact that this

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It's a sad fact that this country has created, yet again, an obvious contradiction in its "values as a society" and how to go about making those values a reality. At a time when we need more disadvantaged groups involved in math and science to propel the country further, higher education does not want advancement and could care less about our youth.

Question? How can President Obama call for more engineers in America when at many university's only the top 2% of students in a class of 250 taking Linear Algebra are allowed to get A grades while the rest MUST get B's or C's due to grading "policy"? How does this move us forward as a math literate country? Why SHOULD a student care when in this case, no matter how hard he or she works, they are still subject to getting a B or less once the final grades have been calculated? How does having professors who give extremely hard exams such as knowing full well that to answer all questions accurately on tests it takes more time than allowed, beneficial to math education? Again, why SHOULD students care when many so-called "educators" stack the odds against students, even those with a genuine interest?

And graduate schools could care less of whether or not you had an incompetent professor, just as long as you get the grade. But then again, we need to keep those numbers low too. God forbid we have too many individuals who actually survive an undergraduate program move on, especially women and minorities. That's simply not how things are supposed to be.

But wait, I thought this concept of "working hard" applied to all things in life? Let me stop. How could I have been so blind? Surely, America's dislike with math is clearly the fault of lazy, slothful, and unmotivated students and NEVER that of anyone else. Right?

Excellent, well-written article Ainissa. It's just a shame that the knowledge you speak will continue to fall on the deaf ears of the academic elitists who hypocritically cry "progress" while their actions and pedagogy show blatant cultural and social selection to those deemed "fit" enough.

4th Grade Math from Michigan.

It is a shame that there is

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It is a shame that there is such a fallout in the engagement and interest in math as students get older and go onto higher education. I also believe one huge problem is the emphasis on arithmetic, rote regurgitation of procedure steps like algorithms. At the elementary level, I hope to provide engagement and interest by pushing algorithms to the wayside, and promoting real world situations for students to generate their own solutions and become problem solvers! They need to see what they are doing is means to end, not just an action because the teacher said so!

future teacher in st. louis, mo

what a great article!! I've

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what a great article!! I've often wondered what has changed since i was a high school student in the late 80s to the present? I loved math until the time I reached college. I often thought about teaching math in middle school but after having a hard time in college with the very subject that I loved, I thought...nah...i can find another way to use my number sense...and as usual I haven't as of yet. When i speak with family members they all have the same thought of hating math...i myself dont' hate it but blame higher education for our loss of interest. I was a substitute teacher for a local high school and one of the classes i recalled subbing for was pre-calc. I had pre-calc in high school and did great, and tried to explain the lesson the best I could to the students. I will never forget having a bright idea to send a student to the board to work out the problem. The student and along with the rest of the class said going to the board was the best thing I could have done because it allowed them to see the bigger picture not just on paper, but for the class to help them resolve the problem. I believe its simple things like sending a student to a board to gain their interest. It could some what back fire, but at least they have the ability to see from a marker/smart board perspective.

Most children hate math

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Most children hate math lesson, but the math is the most skill to create logic think. Also math is very useful skill in work. But for most people the math can be replaced by a Calculator. So how to teach math with interesting and helpful is a problem. Thanks for your great article.

Science Evangelist

Thanks for sharing your

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Thanks for sharing your story. Imagine if we lived in a world where math is fun and engaging. Math would not be the barrier to dreams that it is now.

Social Media Intern at Edutopia

This is a great article and

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This is a great article and sums up so much of what I've experienced in higher education math.
I myself had considered a degree in science and then when I researched the curriculum and saw the math courses I would have to take, I changed my path.
I still had to take math courses through the business school, but as I sat through them I realized how archaic they were. Teachers lectured and showed very few examples and I left each class with a passing grade, but with very little value added.
I feel like when "education innovations" are discussed, Math is rarely talked about. Thanks Ainissa for your perspective.

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