On Wednesday, a panel of Fox News hosts hosts debated whether children in the U.S. might be better off if algebra was eliminated from public schools. The discussion was prompted by a new book The Math Myth and Other STEM Delusions written by Andrew Hacker; a professor emeritus at Queens College.
According to Hacker, “One out of 5 young Americans does not graduate from high school. This is one of the worst records in the developed world. Why? The chief academic reason is they failed ninth-grade algebra.”
Rather than suggest perhaps this indicates that we need to examine how we teach algebra compared to other developed countries, which aren’t having a problem, Hacker suggests we merely eliminate it all together. Hacker argues that, at most, only 5 percent of jobs make use of algebra and other advanced math courses.
Eboni Williams defended the need for algebra as the reasoning and logic necessary to solve advanced math problems is an important life skill. Sandra Smith agreed pointing out that basic skills like figuring out things like how much to pay for rent relies on algebra.
Tantaros remained unconvinced. She dismissed the concern of her colleagues by saying, “The next time I’m in a Bloomingdales and I have a certain amount of money to spend and I’m trying to figure out how many pairs of shoes can fit in x amount of closet space, I’ll text you. I have one mathematical [equation] that I apply. If I like it, I buy it.”
Apparently, Fox News might also consider Teen Talk Barbie, who famously complained the “Math class is tough” and “I like shopping,” an appropriate authority on what standards American teens should be held to if simply buying shoes at Bloomingdale’s is our chief educational concern.