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NEWS

May 18, 2006 |

Frances Vargas, 14, looked at the math problem and placed some green plastic cubes onto the left side of her graph sheet. "Negative 4 plus negative 6, that would be negative 10," said the eighth grader at Julia de Burgos School in West Kensington. Math teacher Marcel Pautrat nodded. "What is the rule when you add two integers that have the same sign?" he asked the class. "If you look at what we did with the blocks, what did we do? You add the absolute values, and what do you do with the sign?

NEWS

August 30, 1990 |

It's 8:30 p.m., and the young person snarls at the page of problems yet to do. "What's relevant about this? Who cares whether train A or train B gets to Chicago first? How will algebra ever serve me in real life? There's no practical value in this. " It's a standard complaint, and it's been uttered for generations. "Because I say so" is one answer I heard, but that was too many decades ago, and these days even professional people sometimes hem and haw when asked to relate elementary high school math to everyday life.

NEWS

November 18, 1994 |

Stopping for just a moment in the school hallway, J Hopkins looked up from tying his shoe to see teacher Howard Baker standing in the doorway. Upon recognizing Baker, the student's expression immediately changed. "Yes!" J said, making a fist-pulling motion and grinning from ear to ear. "We're going to have algebra today!" J, 10, shares his enthusiasm for what is usually a high school and college- level math course with 26 fourth-grade classmates at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

NEWS

October 1, 2000 |

Through the power of the Internet, professor Ellen Freedman has become the Dear Abby of mathematics. When Freedman designed her Web site (www.mathpower.com) for the basic algebra classes she teaches at Camden County College, she had no intention of becoming a quasi-therapist for those across the nation with math-phobia. Three years after launching the page, she has received e-mails from an ashamed trucker in Tennessee who didn't know his multiplication tables, a metal worker desperately seeking help for a math test he needed to pass for a promotion and countless pleas from college students trying to conquer coefficients.

NEWS

August 30, 1996 |

On the first day of classes at Bucks County Community College, Carla Sgavicchio (left), 35, of Bensalem, works on algebra exercises while Julaine Forsyth, 18, of Buckingham, goes over the campus rules.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

February 11, 1990 |

The freshman at the Franklin Learning Center was tested and deemed able to handle first-year algebra. But when he transferred to Edison in fall 1988, he was put in general mathematics, a watered-down course that is essentially a repeat of sixth-grade arithmetic and is a staple in most urban high schools. A poor attender, he is flunking it, even though he says he likes math. The young man's experience is all too commonplace in Philadelphia, where many students either enroll in general math - an antiquated course that educators believe does not enhance their readiness for the world of work - or fail algebra.

NEWS

January 27, 2009 |

New Jersey Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy argued yesterday for a proposed redesigning of the high school curriculum, saying the state had fallen behind some others in requiring students to take advanced math and science courses. "We are no longer at the forward front here," Davy said to the Assembly Education Committee. While New Jersey is regarded as a relatively high academic performer, Davy said, it is not among the states with the most demanding science and math requirements.

NEWS

December 14, 2000 |

Niiamah Ashong, a ninth grader, is on a fast track in math at Pennsauken High School. But he is not enrolled in algebra I, geometry or trigonometry, the traditional means of moving up the math ladder. Instead, he and his classmates are catching the latest wave in math instruction, a mix-and-match method that attempts to make, over and over, one point - that math matters. Want to build a patio? Algebra rules! To decide whether a game of chance will be fair to all players, try geometry and probability!

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NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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)

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.

NEWS

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.