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Kids are gonna hate this.

Next year’s high school freshmen will take more math and science than their predecessors under changes expected to be approved next week by the state Board of Education.

State officials are hoping the changes will increase the number of diplomas handed out and the number of students entering college. But some educators are concerned it will hurt the state’s already lagging graduation rate.

But it sure is needed. Let’s just hope it is real math and not the feel good equivalent.

54 comments

  1. Mike Hauncho says:

    Let me get this straight. They want to try and make kids smarter but are afraid it will hurt the graduation rate.? Why graduate kids who are stupid? Make it so that when they leave high school they have to knowledge and skills necessary to be productive in society.

  2. jm says:

    The BOE is using fuzzy math. The courses that kids don’t like and don’t pass as often are math courses. There are kids out there that don’t graduate just because they cannot pass enough math courses. The failure rate for ninth grade math nationally is around 50%. We have kids that are considered freshman at 18 because they have passed every course except their ninth grade math course.
    This mandate will yield less graduates, but yes, those graduates may be more qualified. We need to have a Board that understands high school kids. Too much research gets done on elementary kids, and then the theory falls apart when put in to practice at the high school level.

  3. Donkey Kong says:

    Bill,

    Of course, a better line would have been

    Georgia Tech Entrance Exam:
    Is there such thing as a girl that cannot beat up a guy?
    A) No
    B) What’s a girl?
    C) Only those that I send death threats to on Valentines day

  4. Donkey Kong says:

    BTW I love this move by the BOE. PLEASE Raise the standards for our education. Keep making it harder. Short term, graduations will decrease, but long term they’ll raise back up, and our kids will be smarter in the process.

  5. BubbaRich says:

    That article from JohnKonop is fairly repulsive. I don’t think anyone but strict Randian objectivists is in favor of making 13 or 14 year old kids choose whether they want a professional career in the rest of their lives.

    Calculus and physics should be required for all high school diplomas. Both subjects are within the reach of all students, and a basic grasp of both subjects will contribute to the graduates being better citizens. Unfortunately, most of the people making the decisions do NOT have a background in either subject, and can’t appreciate how they can help in even trivial daily tasks.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Basic math is very important, but for most people calculus will have no influence in their life in any way. I majored in Physics and Chemical Engineering at Tech, but once I graduated, and became an engineer, I never used anything more complicated than algebra.

    Calculus is an interesting and important subject, but for it to be required to become a lawyer, English teacher, artist or journalist is ridiculous.

  7. John Konop says:

    BubbaRich,

    Your hopes are bigger than reality. Not every kid was meant to go to Harvard. We have many respectable jobs like a police officer, fireman, hair stylist, mechanic, salesman, sales management

  8. BubbaRich says:

    You failed to address my main point, which was that you would force the kids into a career path chosen for them at age 13 or 14. What appreciation of gifts are you showing by forcing a kid into one path or the other so early?

    You also fail to understand that your education gave you the tools to run companies. And you are trying to keep those tools from a bunch of kids. But that’s fine with you, since some of your best friends cut hair.

  9. John Konop says:

    BubbaRich

    As far as skills to run a company a study was done that most successful executives had practical experience of the company they ran not an MBA.

    Also I never took physics and have a degree from the planning school at the University of Cincinnati.

    I learned most of my skill sets working on the job in the real world.

    I also worked for 5 very high net worth businessman and none of them had a MBA or went to business school.

  10. Know Nothing says:

    “We have many respectable jobs like a police officer, fireman, hair stylist, mechanic, salesman, sales management..”

    HA!

    Why would I send my kids to school at all if they were to aspire to such a “respectable job?”

    American’s are absolutely losing to other countries in the field of Science. Calculus should be a graduation requirement. To understand calculus, you must think very logically. Calculus would help students form the basics tools needed to master formal logic.

    Dough Deal – I hear lawyers might want to have a fairly good grasp of formal logic. I know at least I was thankful of my formal logic classes (which calculus helped me in) when I dominated the LSAT a few years ago.

    As some of you forget, there are two types of diplomas students can get in high school: college prep diplomas, and some other vocational one (I forget what it’s called, it’s been years since I’ve been in high school). For students wanting to go to college, Calculus should be a graduation requirement.

    Physics also should be required as it is a good way to show real world applications to calculus. It will only make out students smarter, and it might open up another world of interest for them.

    I don’t care if non-college prep diplomas kids are required to take calculus or for that matter physics. After all, the world needs ditch diggers too.

  11. jm says:

    A high school degree is practically required for any job. Calculus isn’t. I took a year of calculus in high school, and three semesters in college. Never used it once outside the classroom.
    Kids don’t do well, generally, if they don’t need the subject, if it is too separated from what they want to do in life. We have too many kids who cannot reach the hurdles we already place in front of them.
    We also do not have enough qualified math teachers as it is. Are you all willing to have your taxes raised so that we can hire more teachers and pay them what they are worth?
    Yeah, I said it. Raise your taxes. I just heard some of you cringe, and I bet you’re going to back off a bit now.

  12. Doug Deal says:

    BS, BS.

    So, make everyone get a full JD and MD, if more education is always better. If you had your way, the minimum would be raised to including calculus and physics. Then anyone who took them would “take the minimum standard requirement of classes in order to get to Point B” as you said. So, then in order to feel self righteous and better than other people, you would have to complain about them not taking music, dance or a foreign language.

    Not everyone is cut out to study math. Not everyone is cut out to study poetry. Not everyone is cut out to study history. To treat every student the same, regardless of aptitude is as foolish and nonsensical as the forced artificial equality of socialism that you are supposedly against.

    Education is merely a means to an end, and not and end by itself.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Doug,

    Perhaps you’d care to carry your “Great Post!” (John, you’re being an ignorant sl** on this) logic over to kids learning to speak the English language. Let’s just hat the kids who are able to pick it up easily take those English grammar courses, and the ones who were not born to English-speaking parents just take whatever language they can take to pass.

    You two (Konop and Deal) are rather short-sighted on education. By your reckoning, we should have NO minimum standards/coursework to teach kids, and if anything’s “too hard for poor wittle Jimmy,” Little Jimmy can opt-out of taking-up the challenge and go do basket-weaving courses because a challenge just isn’t a good thing in education, is it?

    You two don’t have a clue as to what “equal opportunity” means. It means EVERY kid has the same basic coursework to prepare them for the real world. With you two in charge, we will end-up with the exact kind of class system Konop always screams about: Very Rich & Educated, and Very Poor & Ignorant.

  14. Doug Deal says:

    Perhaps you need some “basic” study in English, BS, because the terms basic and minimum do not generally mean “most advanced” and “high level”.

    Calculus has never been considered basic math, and thus has never been considered a minimum standard. I have no problem with minimum standards of education to be an accredited program:

    1) These should be standards that ensure students can perform BASIC math to a degree that will allow them to perform daily responsibilities such as figuring taxes, wages, amounts owed and such.

    2) The ability to speak read and write English to a degree that they can fluently communicate their wants and needs and understand the questions, statements and demands of others:

    3) The ability to understand the workings of government and the history of our country enough to adequately perform their duties as a franchised elector.

    4) The understanding of general science to the point where one understands at a basic level the workings of medicine, health science, biology and physical science.

    Physics and calculus are much too specialized of fields to qualify as a basic requirement. Almost nothing treated in Physics is a basis for day to day or even long term decisions. Calculus is generally not even used by scientists and engineers, and most things are approximated well enough with algebraic relationships.

    Impractical and grandiose programs firmly grounded in vacuous ether are usually the stuff of the left. It is interesting to see the right join their flight of fancy.

    (Also, please not that I grew up “poor” and am one of the best educated people I know. Economic stature has very little to do with it0>

  15. EAVDad says:

    You can look at the state’s curriculum here: http://www.georgiastandards.org/

    As far as I can tell, Calculus is not taken by all students, but pre-calculus is part of the curriculum.

    As someone who is very familiar with curriculum and education I think it’s important to remember that math not only teacher applicable formulas, but it teacher analytical thinking. No one is saying that every piece of math you learn in HS will be applied in the real world. However, it teachers a specific WAY of thinking that is different and very useful.

    And I think the idea of making a student choose their future at 13 or 14 is ridiculous. If you asked me at 13 I would have told you I wasn’t going to college — I was going to be on Broadway. Things changed. Kids change.

    Plenty of “tech” classes are offered now — it’s just that even those classes train you for jobs that require higher math, science and communication skills.

  16. John Konop says:

    Bill

    You want to define people for what you think is intelligent. The guy who fixes my car, does my plumbing is very smart to me because I cannot do it.

    I have worked with great attorneys who were not fast at math. We all have strength and weaknesses the key is focusing on what you are good at and surrounding your self with people that are good at what you are not.

    This one size fit all education structure you support goes against human nature. And once again Bill book smarts does not always add up to common sense.

    What if defined smart as the ability to give verbal presentations? What if I defined smart as the ability to read a defense in football? What If I define smart as the ability to hunt or fish?

  17. Doug Deal says:

    EAV,

    You do not take calculus at 13 or 14. At 13 and 14, the most advanced math students are generally taking geometry or algebra, assuming the algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, calculus progression that I had in Ohio.

    Calculus is a poor teacher of logic. Proof intensive math such as geometry and trigonometry are far better in that regard. But, you can also be taught logic playing chess, taking philosophy, studying law, and a million other ways.

    To funnel every child into higher math and science, regardless of aptitude is foolish and counterproductive.

  18. Doug Deal says:

    John,

    To add to your list, how about the ability to perform a flawless performance on a piano? BS cannot see beyond his own experience to realize there is more to the world than what he can reach with his own arms.

    In his world, brilliant people who are skilled at language arts would be doomed with the label “failure” because they do not have the aptitude for technical subjects.

  19. EAVDad says:

    My point is that no one is doing that! Calculus is NOT required in high school, save for a few elements that are pre-calculus. Calculus is taken by advanced math students now and advanced students under the new curriculum.

    My point about 13 and 14 year olds is more to what others were saying. There’s too many people who want to label students early on and I think that’s wrong. There are plenty of career and technical opportunities for students in Georgia. But what’s so wrong about saying that has to be paired up with meaningful classes in the central subjects (math, science, eng. etc)?

  20. Doug Deal says:

    EAVDad,

    Then you are arguing with a straw man. I was replying to the posters above who have claimed that they think it is a wonderful idea to force every child to take physics and calculus in order to be in a “college prep” program.

    I was demonstrating to them that it is a nonsensical stance.

  21. Bill Simon says:

    Doug/John

    I wasn’t the best student in school, but we still had to take the algebra, advanced algebra, geometry and trig. THOSE were the classes considered to be “pre-calculus.”

    And, as EAVDad correctly stated, it is not the material itelf that is important, but the logical process one is forced to go through to learn how to solve the problems.

    Personally, I don’t think that’s me being a “snob.” I consider it commonsense.

    But, of course, the Death of Commonsense happened a long damn time ago and “commonsense” is an oxymoron unto itself…sort of like “the common good.”

    I’ll tell you this: I’ll bet it can be proven that the people who end-up skipping semi-rigorous studies and go major in poly-sci/liberal arts end-up being members of the most lackadaisical club (when it comes to morality and ethics) of people out there. Yes, that’s right: Politicians.

  22. Romegaguy says:

    Of course if you were homeschooled by GOPeach all you need to know for math is how to count to 20 with your fingers and toes. Guys can count to 21.

  23. Holly says:

    This reminds me of the article Discover Magazine about aptitude testing in its May issue. (Yep, I’m totally a geek who reads Discover, but bear with me. . .)

    Here’s the link to the article:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/may/blinded-by-science

    It basically points out that we all have different aptitudes. “Duh,” you say. Well, yes. . .

    The point I’d like to put forth here is that not all of us are good at math and science. I’m terrible at math! I was so frustrated by trig / advanced algebra, that I refused to take calculus my senior year. It’s not a subject at which I excel, and the idea of being forced to suffer through a year of it makes me shudder now, ten years out of high school.

    By the way, I took AP chem and loved it. I was part of the gifted program. . . yet I still hate math. I finished my college degree in English without taking calculus, and I’ve still gone on to be a productive member of society.

    While I think it’s good to require four years of math and science, I do not think it’s fine to require calculus. Not everyone can do it. And no, everyone doesn’t need it, nor would I think that everyone would want to take it.

    We all have strengths and weaknesses. Why not allow students to take advanced classes in areas where they excel and have an interest?

  24. rugby_fan says:

    If calculus had been required to graduate, I wouldn’t have graduated.

    Not everyone can do math well, my average grade in math was a mid to low C.

    Why not teach students logic if you want them to be able to solve problems and think critically.

  25. MSBassSinger says:

    If Georgia high school students of average and above intelligence (i.e. not the special ed kids) were required to have a solid math and science education to get a HS degree, perhaps the next generation of folks wouldn’t so easily fall prey to the hysteria and psuedoscience of things like global warming and other goofball fads.

    By the way, to the question of “but is it useful in life?”, my answer is yes. When I worked as a lowly draftsman, I used what I learned from trig and calculus to develop formulae that other draftsmen could use to accurately determine how to cut sheetmetal to fit various 3D shapes. Using the formuale greatly simplified the calculations they had to make, reducing the time they spent, and were more acurate. They didn’t have to know calculus to use the equations, just basic math.

    The usefulness of math and science is directly proportional to the degree to which one is alert for practical uses of one’s learning.

  26. GodHatesTrash says:

    Along with debunking global climate change in spite of all the scientific evidence and opinion, maybe we can get these above average Georgia high school gradyeates to do a little brain surgery on the side…

    You first.

  27. MSBassSinger says:

    > Along with debunking global climate change
    > in spite of all the scientific evidence and
    > opinion
    What scientific evidence? The actual, measurable evidence (remember the scientific method?) shows we are in a normal cycle of warming enhanced by increased solar output. There is no evidence/scientific fact showing that man has contributed in any significant way to the normal cycle.

    Opinion is no substitute for evidence. Opinions of people like Al Gore and various Hollyweird actors on global warming have about the same level of believability as my labrador retreiver on the same subject. (As a side issue, I know for a fact that Gore’s own mother referred to him as slow during a party of family friends.)

    A recent study of papers published on climatology between 2004 and 2007 showed less than half of the scientists writing the papers believe in anthropomorphic (man-made, for Democrats) global warming.

    Many scientists jump on the anthropomorphic global warming bandwagon because they can get money for research if they do. Just look at how James Hansen at NASA was recently discredited by using false data to prove anthropomorphic global warming.

    There is a reason why tinfoil hat sales are as high among global warming believers as they are among Ron Paul supporters. πŸ™‚

  28. Bill Simon says:

    Rugby,

    The teaching of “logic” usually employs (at least once) the use of the equals (“=”) sign. That is a mathematical term.

    I doubt logic can be taught without using math. How would you teach the following “logic” lesson without using math?

    Otis is a drug dealer who has 10 grams of pot he needs to deliver to a buyer.

    Biff is a competing drug dealer who has 4 ounces of California cornflakes that he also needs to deliver to a buyer.

    The pot has a street value of [round numbers used for ease of discussion] of $100 per gram.

    The cornflakes have a value of $250 per ounce.

    If the drug mule is going to charge a flat rate of $500 (plus airfare of $275), which drug dealer will be the better businessman and make the most profit after all delivery charges are met, and presuming that 100% of the drugs get sold and delivered to a buyer at those street rates?

  29. John Konop says:

    Bill,

    No one said that kids do not need to know basic math to graduate high school. But it is irrational to think you need 4 years of math to go to college or even graduate High School.

    As I said do you think if someone cannot deliver an eloquent speech they should be able to graduate high school or college? I have some very bright people who work for me I would not take on a sales call to one of my customers. I have some great sales people and sales management who I would want doing my books. It takes all kinds of people with different skill sets to run a successful company.

    As I said you only want to define intelligence in your terms. The world is much bigger!

  30. griftdrift says:

    “The actual, measurable evidence (remember the scientific method?) shows we are in a normal cycle of warming enhanced by increased solar output”

    Ummmmmmmm. No it doesn’t. Perhaps a time to talk about science standards as well?

  31. griftdrift says:

    Since I probably won’t be here for whatever tart riposte is issued, I leave you with this.

    http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

    That’s from the Max Planck Institute (you know old Max knew a few things about physics). As you can see from the graph, there has been no appreciable increase in solar irradiance since 1940. And if you look even closer, in the 70s when we started launching satellites to study the sun, the data became even more refined.

    And the result is a solar irradiance flat line. I really don’t understand how this little myth got started.

  32. BubbaRich says:

    Abdusamatov is a well-established crank. Nearly everything he says has been contradicted by evidence, much of it before he even says it. All evidence has fairly clearly shown that there is no long-term increase in solar irradiance, and his only evidence in your cite is that the temperature on Mars has changed.

    It’s not even clear what your point is in citing Hansen. We don’t need a fixed definition of global mean temperature to study this issue. We just need to use consistent or comparable definitions within a single study.

    The facts have provided a well-understood mechanism for anthropogenic global warming, and measurements that seem to show this mechanism is, in fact, occurring.

    The future path of world temperatures, especially local temperatures, is not entirely clear. In a very similar sense, it is not entirely clear what will happen if Iran obtains atomic bomb capability. However, the costs of that are considered to be high enough that we expend much money and blood to keep Iran from obtaining that technology. The costs for many proposed scenarios of global warming are much higher than Iran nuking one or two US cities. While there is much doubt over the course of temperature increases, there is enough of a chance of these sorts of expensive consequences that it might be worthwhile to consider appropriate countermeasures. Maybe they won’t be as much of a disaster as our current attempted countermeasures in Iraq.

  33. joe says:

    It would be absolutely catestrophic if the world split down the middle into two halves. Why then, don’t we invest all of our money in a giant rubber band to keep it together? The answer is simple. It is not likely to happen in the first place, and the rubber band is not going to have an effect.

    It is not worth considering countermeasures until you know the cause.

  34. Bill Simon says:

    Bubba,

    MAYBE with the advent of electronic communications like e-mail and blogs, the anthropogenic effects resulting from people full of nothing but a lot of hot air will be greatly reduced as we discuss matters like this on blogs as opposed to speaking our thoughts out loud. πŸ™‚

  35. BubbaRich says:

    joe, if the vast majority of geologists and astrophysicists thought the earth was going to split down the middle because of known effects, I would suggest that, no matter what you said, it might be worth looking into. Especially if it were being caused by blogging or some other human activity. Your last sentence is right up there with “it’s not worth trying to stop Iran until you know exactly where they intend to use a nuclear bomb.” We know a mechanism, and we know that it is in place. We don’t know what the final effect will be. There may be some environmental effect that will hold down a temperature increase that is a pretty obvious consequence of the clear blanket we’re throwing over the earth. That environmental effect may involve also converting all of the human beings into their component carbon along the way, but that’s fine since it’s natural.

    We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We can only plan based on our best models of the future. We have to balance the sureness in the model with the cost of acting and the cost of not acting.

    In Iraq, we chose to act, based on the confidence in our models and information, most of which turned out to be bad information. The cost of acting has turned out to be very high. Yet Mr. Bush has made clear that he would act again in the same way with the same preliminary information, based on the potential cost of not acting.

    Your calculus may be different in the case of Iraq or in the case of anthropogenic global climate change. However, with the ignorance of the model information and the potential costs of not acting that has been demonstrated in this thread, I think your information is worse than President Bush’s information about Iraq’s military abilities and terrorism connections.

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