Math lobby is fierce


Re Boaz Dvir’s April 18 Other Views column, X + Algebra Wall = Pass: There is a lobby that makes the NRA look impotent. It’s the math lobby. It has bluffed society into believing that its subject matter is universally needed. The Lastinger Center for Learning and their program Algebra Nation are the latest examples.

Math proponents argue that the skill is necessary to function in modern society. They also insist math has special qualities to best teach critical thinking. Wrong and wrong.

For 99 percent of us, life hasn’t required us to do much more than simple arithmetic. With the advent of cheap calculators, even that skill isn’t as important as it once was. Want to do algebra problems for fun? Pose them to SIRI on your iPhone. She’s never wrong.

High school math should be a one-year survey of simple algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. A second and far more relevant class would be personal economics and math: balance a checkbook, do simple bookkeeping and read a mortgage closing sheet.

Sam Fields, Plantation

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