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.