Why Is Algebra Necessary?
If it even is necessary, how can we teach it better?
“Is algebra necessary?” It’s a question that crosses the minds of many students struggling in high school and college math classes.
Professor Andrew Hacker wonders the same thing. His opinion piece about the math we teach to students has started a big conversation about how schools prepare people for the real world.
He wonders whether this stumbling block forces kids out of school early...whether it really helps with the 21st century tools we need.
His critics - and there have been several popping up in the last week - challenge many parts of his argument. And one of the more compelling questions being asked is "Why is any course necessary?"
Why do we need to read Hamlet, or learn about ancient European history?
What could - or should - change about the way we teach math? Only hours after the curiosity rover lands safely on Mars - is now the right time to be talking about backing off our math requirements? Can we cure our nation’s “math anxiety?”
Today, we talk about the role of not just algebra, but calculus and geometry as well. We look at what can be learned about the education system as a whole.
This episode originally aired on August 6, 2012.