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View Diary: Pieces of Struggle (38 comments)

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  •  If you took basic algebra (4+ / 0-)

    during any decade, you were taught it. Rest assured. Whether you were taught it WELL is another discussion entirely.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:15:54 PM PST

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    •  I was taught well (6+ / 0-)

      Algebra was my complete downfall. It was the only thing that could have prevented me from graduating from college because I could not grasp it at all. It may as well have been quantum physics.

      I did manage to squeak by with a passing grade and received a diploma but as you can tell algebra was wasted on me.

      •  A lot of Americans say this exact thing, (6+ / 0-)

        unfortunately, and it's a real shame for our culture. There's lots of potential wasted. In my case, I was hindered early from learning algebra, by a learning disability (I now believe), and by the pervasive cultural bias at the time that "not everybody" could learn math beyond arithmetic, or had any business trying.  

        The bias is going away. Say what you want about the current wave of "educational reform"--it's pro-privatization and pro-corporate, blah, blah, blah--it has at least introduced into the discourse about public education the notion that "everyone can learn." That notion is now center-front, a guiding belief of many, and, believe me, it used to get buried.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 02:56:35 PM PST

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        •  Everyone can learn (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          everything? Or needs to?

          •  This exact argument (0+ / 0-)

            for giving up on certain people in society gets floated all the time: "Efforts to teach them are wasted." You can pick up whole books and read it; distressingly, some of these books have been best-sellers.

            Algebra is a gateway to more career fields than not. To convince many people that "they just aren't good at it," reinforcing the notion through poor teaching, is nothing short of immoral.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 05:07:55 PM PST

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            •  That's not what I wrote. (0+ / 0-)

              Insisting that everyone pass the same increasingly high levels of math -- for those starting high school in 2013-2014, FL's standard requires Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II and one other math credit -- https://www.fldoe.org/... -- and the standardized test that goes with them, is cruel and immoral. Not all human beings, no matter how dedicated the tutor, are going to be able to pass these classes or want to or need to.

      •  Same here (4+ / 0-)

        In high school I had an algebra tutor, no dice. I think I scraped by with a C-minus.

        It took me a couple of shots at it to get through it in college...I just dropped the class until I forced my way through it the third time, receiving a "gentleman's C". I don't know how I did that well, because I never really grasped the subject.

        Surprisingly, I did really well in geometry, and not too bad in trigonometry either, but I hit the wall in algebra.

        I ended up changing my major....to Fine Art.

        •  If you had "no dice" with an algebra (5+ / 0-)

          tutor, then I believe your tutor just wasn't very good at what they did, or for some other reason, their wasn't a good match between you and your tutor.

          You can tell I'm a big believer in tutoring! Part of the difference between the educational outcomes for wealthy and poor neighborhoods is that in wealthy neighborhoods, parents can afford to hire private tutors for their kids. This generally makes all the difference. At a crucial time in life, tutoring can make the difference between somebody forming a self-image as a "loser," which will dog them for the rest of their lives, and not having to shoulder this baggage.

          It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

          by karmsy on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 06:24:56 PM PST

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          •  For me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bleeding blue

            algebra was doable, so long as I had a calculator due tom y own math disability. Except for graphing, hard to graph when the numbers swap around. Even with a calculator I had to double and triple check my work, because I still would swap numbers around either when I entered them or when I wrote them down.

            Geometry was BAD, and that was mostly the teacher's fault. He taught by reading the book. If you didn't understand something he told you to read the book. And if he caught you getting tutored, he'd find a reason to fail you, he considered that cheating.

            If I'd had the internet available to me at the time (and this was back in the mid 1980's, so no), I would have been able to manage it easier, because I would have looked things up online, much like I did in college when I ran into professors who read from the book.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:19:33 AM PST

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