Letters to the Editor: Math can be hard and abstract. That’s not a reason to teach less of it

Oct 28, 2019 by

You can’t swap advanced math classes for courses on data science and expect high schoolers to have the same opportunities available to them.

To the editor: The piece by Jo Boaler and Steven D. Levitt reveals a blinkered view of what mathematics is and how it gets used in real-life problems such as data analysis. Data analysis and statistics are not mathematics; they are extra-mathematical subjects that rely heavily on mathematics.

There are foreseeable negative outcomes to replacing Algebra 2 with a course in data analysis for most college-bound high school kids. Students who studied data analytics would be at a grave disadvantage after high school if they wished to pursue any field of engineering and most pure or applied fields of natural science, such as, I don’t know, premed.

The current high school math curriculum has received vigorous discussion, particularly on the ways in which Algebra 2 may pose a harmful barrier to students who lack access to quality secondary education. That curriculum is not in any way sacred, but it deserves a better critique than this one.

John A. Morgan, La Cañada Flintridge

Source: Letters to the Editor: Math can be hard and abstract. That’s not a reason to teach less of it – Los Angeles Times

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