Algebra to return to San Francisco middle schools this fall

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nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,572
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea...ebra-wraps-new-math-plan-horizon-18662899.php

SFUSD will bring back algebra to middle schools but parents upset by long rollout
The board voted 6-1 to offer the course to eighth graders during the school day next year in about a third of the district’s 13 middle schools and six K-8 schools. Students at the remaining schools will be able to take it either through a supported online class or through summer school.
The rest of the schools would add Algebra 1 to the school day over the following two years — meaning hundreds of eighth graders will have to take it remotely, during vacation time or wait until high school during that transition period.
Still, the vote seemed to resolve a decade-long battle that has included protests, a lawsuit, and an upcoming ballot measure in March urging the district to give students the opportunity to speed up the math sequence. The fight has reflected a broader conflict in the district over how much to emphasize equity versus merit, and how to balance the needs of struggling students against those of high-achieving students.
District officials pulled the course out of middle school 10 years ago, saying they wanted to delay tracking students into separate math sequences until high school, an effort they hoped would push more disadvantaged students into higher math courses. The results were disappointing, district officials said. Parents argued the move only held back high-achieving students.
This almost needs to be in this thread. What a terrible initial decision. Dumping kids into the adult world who are functionally illiterate and innumerate.
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https://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,286
Read “Harrison Bergeron”, a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. He saw the problem with trying to make everyone equal back in 1961.
 

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,572
Why assume evil intentions when incompetence explains things so much better, and is far more common?
The stupidity and incompetence of the general promoters of these misguided policies are being used by some with evil intentions. It's not a secret or conspiracy, they proudly boast of their objectives to destroy freedom and democracy.
 

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,572
I always thought learning Algebra was a waste of my time – I’ve no intension of ever going there.
It's not just math equations and formulas you are learning. It's the evolution of complex problem solving, logical and critical thinking about the future that's gained for something as simple as planning a party in a sensible manner.

(# of pizzas = # of attendees * average portion eaten per attendee)
Kegs of beer and bottles of wine needed, tables, chairs and cups for a football event. The list for mundane uses of Algebra goes on and on.

And for most kids, it can be simple and fun to learn in the age of computer and interactive apps. For my kid I used a cheap android tablet and app for her early Algebra that was presented as a game instead of math in the beginning.
https://dragonbox.com/products/algebra-5
 
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Hymie

Joined Mar 30, 2018
1,296
If students are entering higher education (in any technical subject) with no knowledge of algebra – then those establishments are going to have to waste time teaching it.

Many everyday problems can be expressed as an algebraic equation (and solved), do the educators in the USA not know this?
 

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,572
If students are entering higher education (in any technical subject) with no knowledge of algebra – then those establishments are going to have to waste time teaching it.

Many everyday problems can be expressed as an algebraic equation (and solved), do the educators in the USA not know this?
Parents know it, take control of your kids education if the schools and educators are doing a lowest-common denominator lesson plan.

Evil intent doesn't really matter if the end result impact is harmful. Malicious intent is usually easier to expose, create countermeasures for and defeat. In many ways, 'good' intentions by so many of the 'this will help them', is what makes this so insidious.
 
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Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,572
https://www.wgbh.org/news/local/202...ement-joining-elite-schools-reinstating-tests
Dartmouth brings back SAT requirement, joining elite schools reinstating tests
A study conducted by Dartmouth researchers found that standardized test scores, paired with high school grades, can reliably predict the success of students at the college. They also found the scores can identify high-performing students from low-income, rural and underfunded schools.

“[This] research shows that [SATs] are a good predictor of college success. They're a better predictor than grades or teacher recommendations,” Paul Reville, former Massachusetts Secretary of Education and a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, told Boston Public Radio on Thursday.

The study also uncovered a trend of disadvantaged students not submitting the optional SAT scores even though their high scores would have helped them get into Dartmouth.

“This is a problem,” Reville said.
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BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,286
My older sister is 7 years older, so she would have been in 9’th grade when she was taking algebra, and I was in second. One evening, she decided to show me how cool algebra was. She taught me how to set up an equation and solve it. I asked what good is that, sceptical that it had any application. So she showed me how to translate a “word problem” to an equation and get the answer by solving it. On my next math assignment, I solved theo word problems as she showed me, using algebra.

The next day I volunteered to solve one of the homework problems on the board. I showed the equation and how I solved it. Her response? You got the right answer, but I don’t know how, and what you did is wrong.
 

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,572
To what end? Sorry, but you are in the realm of conspiracy theory and now.
IMO, as usual your, focus is narrow on these types of things.

I'm talking about countries like China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, etc ... Their intentions are not right or left wing conspiracy theories. They have been and are dedicated to the the destruction of freedom and democracy around the world and the US is a big fat target of those efforts, politically, financially and socially.
 
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WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea...ebra-wraps-new-math-plan-horizon-18662899.php

SFUSD will bring back algebra to middle schools but parents upset by long rollout
Imagine if some district had eliminated team sports in middle school on the basis that it would somehow remove barriers to disadvantaged kids from participating in high school sports. Somehow, I don't think it would have taken ten years for that lunacy to get overturned.

Just one more example of the strategy of "lifting up" poor performers by making it impossible for "good performers" to actually perform. Why is it that we are fine with doing this in academics, but would never tolerate anything that held back star athletes in achieving their dreams and goals, despite the fact that those dreams and goals are completely out of reach of the overwhelming majority of their peers? But try proposing something aimed at enabling the top academic performers to reach the next level and you are shot down because it isn't "equally accessible to all students".

As for the slow rollout being due to not having enough qualified math teachers to teach Algebra 1, or that they need a couple of years to relearn it since the district hasn't taught it in ten years -- what lame excuses. If a "math teacher" can't come up to speed on 8th grade algebra over a summer break, there is zero reason why they should be retained as a math teacher. I haven't taken a statistics course in 35 years and have never taught it, yet I was able to teach a statistics course last semester, including several topics that I have never studied, with only a two week lead time. I just had to stay a week ahead of the students all semester.

From the 1983 report, "A Nation At Risk":
Our nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world….If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
The next day I volunteered to solve one of the homework problems on the board. I showed the equation and how I solved it. Her response? You got the right answer, but I don’t know how, and what you did is wrong.
Wish I could say that it surprised me, but it doesn't.

I've had many conversations with math faculty at a few universities, and they have all commented on how the poorest math performers in their programs are the people that are getting an education degree specifically to become math teachers.

We've speculated on the reasons and have come up with some thoughts, but nothing that we believe would be definitive, as to why this sorry state of affairs exists. As with most things, there's almost certainly a collection of factors that have combined to bring it about, some of which are reasonably obvious and others that are far more subtle.
 
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