May 19, 2016
ISSUE | ALGEBRA A key building block The commentary defending algebra as a high school requirement is much too shallow ("Adding up the whys of algebra," Sunday). Algebra is a prerequisite for calculus and trigonometry, which are the lifeblood of engineering, chemistry, physics, astronomy, biology, computer programming, and other technical fields - all of which offer high-paying jobs. If algebra were eliminated from junior high and high schools, it would disrupt academic development.
May 16, 2016
Darren Glass is associate professor of mathematics at Gettysburg College In his recent book, The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions , political scientist Andrew Hacker argues, among other things, that we should not require high school students to take algebra. Part of his argument, based on data some have questioned, is that algebra courses are a major contributor to students dropping out of high school. He also argues that algebra is nothing more than an "enigmatic orbit of abstractions" that most people will never use in their jobs.
January 20, 2016
FOR SOME PEOPLE, politics is easy as baseball. Participants have "positions" and wear a team uniform - Democratic Party blue, Republican Party red, Green Party beige. (Just kidding - green.) For other people, politics is as indecipherable as algebra, except that in algebra, values are constant. They don't shift with the political winds. This year's alarming bumper crop of presidential candidates has made it exciting for political junkies, but the explosion of Republicans seeking the presidency has confused people who don't have the time (or the interest)
March 13, 2015
I WAS A fairly intense child, passionate in my love (Bobby Sherman, white chocolate) and my hatred (the Dallas Cowboys, mayonnaise.) This intensity was transferred to my most pressing responsibility: school. While I could get B's if I did the minimal amount of work, I really needed to work to get an A. And for me, A's were my ticket to respectability, so I stretched. Unfortunately, I could have stretched to Alpha Centauri and I wouldn't have been able to avoid mediocrity in math.
October 4, 2012
By Grant Calder 'Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process. " The second part of John F. Kennedy's observation probably still holds true. But does anyone talk to kids these days about growing up to be president? Among my 11th-grade American history students, one recalled his third-grade teacher telling him that if he kept at his spelling, he might grow up to be president. Another said a grandparent had talked to him about the possibility.
August 15, 2012 |
I HAVE painstakingly entered into my Education Malfeasance Meter all the data I could unearth about the high-school testing mess that went down in June in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. So into the meter went the alleged verbal directive to adjust second-semester grades if certain finals caused students to fail courses for the year. And the memo advising teachers to lift numeric grades on those finals, for the same reason. And the screw-up with a practice algebra test that wound up being the actual exam.
September 14, 2011 |
The newest brouhaha over young women's apparel concerns retailer Forever 21's "Allergic to Algebra" T-shirt. This comes on the heels of J.C. Penney's T-shirt faux pas. The "I am too pretty for homework so my brother has to do it for me" quip so offended men and women alike that the company quickly pulled the product and issued a formal apology. I don't want to linger on the sexist nature of these messages. As the mother of two daughters, I have screened the writing on their clothing for years, looking for any one-liners that diminish them as girls.
April 14, 2011 |
Marianne "Mimi" S. Murray, 56, of Thornton, a dietitian who counseled students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, died of breast cancer Tuesday, April 12, at home. When she gave her annual wellness lectures to Bryn Mawr freshmen, she dressed to underscore her message. Her attire included carrot slippers, broccoli and banana earrings, and a necklace of plastic grapes and orange, lemon and lime slices. The necklace adorned a T-shirt with the logo "All Foods Can Fit. " She wanted to get the students' attention, her husband, Clem Murray, said, and routinely received ovations after she spoke.
December 6, 2010 |
No textbooks, no paper, no chalk, no desks, and no assigned seats. Instead, students in Thomas Gaffey's ninth-grade algebra class at Philadelphia's High School of the Future use laptops while sitting in rolling chairs at trapezoidal tables spaced out in hexagonal classrooms. And Gaffey, 28, encourages his students to find answers to their own questions. "Is this an obtuse triangle?" one student asks. "Well, what can you tell me about an obtuse triangle?" Gaffey replies.
August 7, 2009 |
It was a sweet run from her Roxborough apartment into the wooded trails of Fairmount Park. Mary Katherine Ladany would have been well into her workout when the bough of a leafy tulip poplar 50 feet above her cracked. In a random, deadly intersection of time and place, Ladany, a 23-year-old math teacher, crossed under the tree at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, just as the dead limb, heavy as a crossbeam, fell and knocked her to the ground. A passerby called 911, offered to perform CPR, and stayed with her until the ambulance arrived, said Dan Mercer, whose wife jogged by several minutes after the accident.