How to Fix Our Math Education

From an OP-ED published in today’s NY Times, co-written by the executive director of the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications and an emeritus professor of mathematics at Brown:

Today, American high schools offer a sequence of algebra, geometry, more algebra, pre-calculus and calculus…This highly abstract curriculum is simply not the best way to prepare a vast majority of high school students for life…Most citizens would be better served by studying how mortgages are priced, how computers are programmed and how the statistical results of a medical trial are to be understood.

In math, what we need is “quantitative literacy,” the ability to make quantitative connections whenever life requires…and “mathematical modeling,” the ability to move practically between everyday problems and mathematical formulations

At LiHigh School, this is exactly how we approach our “math” classes. The goal is not to get our students to memorize abstract formulas and equations, but to teach them to think like a mathematician, to be comfortable working with numbers, and to pursue mathematical modeling when real-world problems require it.

Author: Kyle Callahan

Hi, I'm Kyle. I'm an advisor at LiHigh School. I've been involved in progressive education since I was in high school. I was an original member (and student representative) of the Progressive Program at Green Mountain College, and for my Master's degree, I attended Goddard College, which started the trend toward progressive education in the 1960s. Along with teaching at LiHigh School, I teach courses in creative writing and communications at Green Mountain College. I live with my wife and daughter in Poultney.

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