Is Algebra Necessary?

I still believe Andrew Hacker’s perspective is more correct than those who sought to rebut his position such as Daniel Willingham, Jose Vilson, and many others. This is not to say that they did not make many valid points. However, they are not mutually exclusive, except the character assassinations.

Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher

In an OpEd piece in the NY Times on July 28th, 2012 titled Is Algebra Necessary?, Andrew Hacker, emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, and a co-author of “Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — and What We Can Do About It,” details the problems with forcing all students to take algebra, geometry, and other mathematics when they are not ready, or uninterested in doing so.

I could not agree more with Mr. Hacker’s opinion.  My comments to his post follow.  I will elaborate on my perspective at a later date.


Radical change is needed re: compulsory algebra (as well as geometry and beyond) at all public schools.  While ANY student should be allowed to take algebra, geometry, or beyond, they should not be forced to take it when they are not ready or…

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About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Secondary math teacher teaching math intervention, algebra 1, honors precalculus, and AP Calculus AB. I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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