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Columnist: Algebra is not racist


Further to the claim that dropping the algebra requirement would enable more students to enter community college.

From David Freddoso at Washington Examiner:

For many decades, educators have viewed algebra as something students need to understand in high school, if not earlier. Now, we have college administrators who think it’s too hard, causing too many of their students to fail and thus preventing them from getting a college degree.

And that, of course, means we should get rid of algebra, the chancellor of California’s community college system told NPR this week.

I don’t even want to get into the laughable and arguably racist assumption that algebra creates some kind of color barrier ? and by the way, the Arabs developed it, so it just isn’t so. But what I marvel at is how this interview seems reflects a blind faith in the magical powers of a college degree. In the interest of making sure everyone gets one, we simply stop making them studying things that are challenging and important in life, because it’s the degree itself that is most important. More.

He goes on to point out that one outcome is keeping disadvantaged or minority students out of the STEM fields where there are still lots of real jobs… What a great way of making them bear the burden of poor schooling while claiming to help them!

One wishes that students would start sounding off about the real problems and not about speakers they disagree with but don’t have to listen to.

See also: At NPR: For social justice’s sake, get rid of algebra!


Evolution News and Views on Dawkins dumped from Berkeley: Did it serve him right?

It's all about guaranteeing equity, which Marxist regressives are pushing. CannuckianYankee
Freddoso brings up this interesting example:
Algebra can also spare you some embarrassment. Recently, Democrats in the Illinois legislature were preparing to ram through a tax hike that Gov. Bruce Rauner opposed. The proposal increased income taxes from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Subtract the old rate from the new one, then divide the answer by the old, and you can calculate the proposed change in the tax rate ? a 32 percent increase. But State Rep. Chris Welch, who may or may not have taken algebra, didn't understand that, and tweeted out this much-mocked and since-deleted meme:
The Illinois Income Tax Increase goes from 3.75% (where it is now) to 4.95%. A 1.20% increase, not 32% as Rauner says!
The difference is that Welch calculated the absolute change and Freddoso calculated the relative change, of course. They would both be correct if they had simply specified which type of change they were calculating. We sometimes see this happen in climate change debates, except with the politics reversed, so to speak. The atmospheric CO2 concentration was around 280 ppm in the mid 1800's, and is now around 400 ppm. In absolute terms, this is an increase of just 0.012%, but in relative terms, it's an increase of about 43%, so you can pick which number to quote depending on whether you think this is a problem or not. daveS

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