Is algebra necessary?

From algebra to calculus, from trigonometry to set theory, it's all here.
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:55 am

Re: Is algebra necessary?

Post by Lorenzo » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:58 am

exabyte wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:57 am
Lorenzo wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:56 am
Except that fundamental advancement of practical knowledge in nearly all of history has come from trial and error... and not the "perfection" of mathematics. Randomness and failure is necessary for the advancement of ALL talent/knowledge. Many beneficial things we have the advantage of today have been acquired from unintended means. So ultimately, making mathematics does limit advancement that we cannot be aware of yet.
Making mathematics what?
Sorry I was meant to say, "making mathematics mandatory"..
exabyte wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:57 am
Math is learning to think and troubleshoot.
Not exactly. It's learning to think and troubleshoot under a predefined structure. Not thinking and troubleshooting under that structure alone leads to more possibilities in what is discovered/created.

Of course, math leads to discoveries (which limits discoveries that can be made without math), just as learning no math leads to discoveries that cannot be made from knowledge of math.

Which is why I think there should be no educational/curriculum mandates.

Jack Johnson
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:00 am

Re: Is algebra necessary?

Post by Jack Johnson » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:00 am

Math is easy enough in America, we NEED to skim the bottom off. If you suck, you suck, and you need to be told so. If you can't pass then you've earned your role in the lower class. That's how this country is supposed to work.

Besides, I want students to learn algebra because I want them to be accountable for basic logic. If anyone thinks that mathematics is rigid and uncreative, it's because you haven't taken any higher level math. Take some stats or discrete math and you'll flip positions.

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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Is algebra necessary?

Post by exabyte » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:01 am

Hey everyone. Thanks for the replies.

So I just realized I haven't added my personal opinion yet...

Personally, I think mathematics is how you do a lot of science, and a crucial part of critical thinking itself. Less critical thinking doesn't usually do good things for anyone, anywhere.

Anyway, I found this article. It might be of interest to some:

Bear Blu
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:03 am

Re: Is algebra necessary?

Post by Bear Blu » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:04 am

exabyte wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:02 am
A TYPICAL American school day finds some six million high school students and two million college freshmen struggling with algebra. In both high school and college, all too many students are expected to fail. Why do we subject American students to this ordeal?
Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent.
But a definitive analysis by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce forecasts that in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above. And if there is a shortage of STEM graduates, an equally crucial issue is how many available positions there are for men and women with these skills. A January 2012 analysis from the Georgetown center found 7.5 percent unemployment for engineering graduates and 8.2 percent among computer scientists.
I hope that mathematics departments can also create courses in the history and philosophy of their discipline, as well as its applications in early cultures. Why not mathematics in art and music — even poetry — along with its role in assorted sciences?
Link: ... ssary.html

What are your opinions? Do you think he has a point?
Underlying the thesis of this article is the admission that most people will end up doing menial labor in one form or another. So his idea that we should not require even algebra for the general public sounds a lot to me like he's trying to prepare a slave class that will serve a very small elite that have the necessary math skills to be technologically competent. It's really sad how utterly cynical this article is, and all to increase the potential talent he feels is being lost in exploring art and history? Ironically, STEM students score the highest on writing portions of standardized testing, and anecdotally I can say a lot of scientists I know are artistically gifted compared to the general population. It's like he's getting rid of the very people he erroneously believes are holding the world back from becoming master historians and poets.


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