Andrew Hacker is my new hero. My guess is none of you know who Andrew is. That’s okay, because up until a few days ago, neither did I. You see, Mr. Hacker, who teaches political science and mathematics at Queens College is the author of a book called, The Math Myth and other STEM Delusions.

Mr. Hacker, ( my new hero), claims that adults use algebra or geometry about five percent of the time in their day to day lives. Personally, I think that number is a bit high but hey, I’m just grateful someone is finally putting the trash out to the curb here. Apparently, Professor Hacker feels the solution for our children is not more math, but less.

Thank you God.

According to my new main man, requirements like algebra, trigonometry and calculus are, “a harsh and senseless hurdle.”

Can someone please give me an AMEN?

Where was this superhero when I was going to school and developing a lifelong twitch every time someone started a sentence with, “If a train is traveling at 60 miles and hour……”

Because you need to figure that crap out everyday, right? Because you need to know the speed, stops, people and arrival times of a train, in order to graduate, right? Especially since that information is posted at the station where you buy the tickets, even when I went to school. Of course now you can just google it, but it doesn’t stop the crazies from still putting it on tests.

Hacker believes students should focus on what he calls, “adult math,” so they become agile enough with numbers that they can calculate mileage for business expenses, understand interest rates or read a corporate report or federal budget.

What a concept, huh? Life skills taught in school that we can actually use for the rest of our lives.

Of course Hacker’s book has sparked some controversy by…drum roll please…the MATH teachers. Shocker, right? That’s like saying politicians don’t care much for fact checkers.

Give me simple math everyday and I’m a happy person. This other stuff they refer to as a language is bogus. I believe it’s been forced on us at an early age by former CIA agents who took secretive courses on cruel and unusual punishment for school age children.

Oh, and those little geniuses running around the school systems getting perfect math grades and test scores, spewing their equations ad nauseam? They were stolen at birth and implanted with chip devices that provides them with words that make no sense to the general population. Don’t think I don’t know what’s going on. They’re not normal.

Thank you, Mr. Hacker, for confirming what I have been saying for years and validating my life’s work. You’re THE MAN.

I rest my case.

JodiI will give you an AMEN and then 100 more! I CLEPed out of English and Computers etc. for college credit, but needed remedial Algebra! I detest higher Mathematics courses! I can do what I need in life without it. Give me words! 🙂

LikeLiked by 1 person

GeorgePost authorCouldn’t agree more, Jodi. I knew you were one of us..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

Victo DoloreHa! Love this. I wish I had never taken calculus. I still have PTSD from the final exam…

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorLol…I don’t think you’re alone.

LikeLiked by 1 person

KimVery funny! I agree a lot of it seems like senseless and unnecessary torture. By sheer coincidence, just today I was having a conversation with my oldest son who told me how much he’d hated high school, having to sit still all day and learn pointless stuff. He cited algebra as one of the stuff and said not once in his entire adult life has he had to use it. I said maybe it’s to improve problem solving and critical thinking skills? But what do I know? I majored in English and avoided math like the plague.

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorI don’t think your son is alone feeling that way and that seems to be the recurring thought…it’s rarely, if ever used.

LikeLike

Helen DevriesThank goodness that in my era we did not have to pass maths in order to attend university…

I think my mind began to boggle when they started talking about filling baths while the plug was removed…who, I thought, could be so stupid as to leave the plug out…

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorYou were lucky indeed, Helen..:)

LikeLike

Sara McDarenI’m going to push back a little here.

I think these maths should be taught precisely because they are (nearly) useless. Just like art. and poetry. and music. We should study them because they are part of a truly liberal education, and help us to think broadly and well, not because they help us to make or handle money (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

so says the woman who could not do math until after she left school and studied it on her own.

LikeLiked by 2 people

GeorgePost authorThat’s a valid point, to a degree..:) Poetry is a little dicey for some people but it’s simple language for the most part and I see almost everyone playing around with art and music. However no one seems to understand the language of higher math and if you can’t speak the language……

LikeLiked by 1 person

janI wish this guy had been around when I suffered through algebra.

LikeLiked by 1 person

GeorgePost authorSo do I, Jan…:)

LikeLike

Ilona ElliottGeorge I am right there with you. I TOOK that Practical Math class in HS and still use it to calculate tips, sales prices and other common equations. I struggled with algebra and hate it. About once every decade and a half my husband, a machinist who knows a little algebra, tells me some project we are working on has an algebraic equation that would assist us, but we usually figure out how to do it without one! He is Mr. Mechanical and hates algebra too. Long live the right brainers! (or is it left brainers, I always forget!) Fun post.

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorThanks, Ilona. It’s nice to know that someone like your husband who understands it all admits to almost never having to use it and still dislikes it..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

joylovestravelThis guy speaks sense George for sure – where was he when I was struggling through calculus and all that other horrid stuff!! Adult maths – now that would be useful.

LikeLiked by 1 person

GeorgePost authorThat’s what I think. Why go through the angst of it all? Teach me what I’m going to use in life, as least as it relates to math.

LikeLiked by 1 person

vanbytheriverI don’t know why, but I really liked the puzzle of it all. My high school was pretty advanced. I had calculus and analytical geometry by the end of a 5 year program. And AP chemistry…was really nothing but math. I took the minimum required in college, but in high school…mesmerized.

Nerd alert. ☺ walks away slowly……

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorLol….walks away slowly….now that’s funny. I knew people like you in high school. I think we got real friendly during tests..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

vanbytheriverYep. I had a huge crush on a guy, let him cheat off me once in a while. We stayed in that “friend zone”. 💕 He thanked me in my high school yearbook. ☺

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorSo having smarts really does pay off..😊

LikeLiked by 1 person

PistachiosI actually liked some parts of maths. I mean, I don’t remember hating algebra or that type of thing… Trigonometry, though, I think is impossible to like, and has no place in the lives of normal people.

Strangely, I don’t know how I feel about this “adult math”… I mean, I really hated learning about finance and compound interest and stuff like that

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorI don’t think I’d like All parts of adult math. Like you, finance stuff doesn’t interest me, but at least its applicable to life situations. This other stuff makes no sense at all..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

Kate CrimminsI have mixed feelings here. I was making fancy window treatments and I had to use pi to calculate measurements. I was totally stunned. I agree with you that kids need everyday skills like calculating sales in their heads. You know 30%, 50% off. I worked with a young woman once. The bill was an even $60. The customer gave her $100 and she was flummoxed. Seriously. Understanding bank statements is good too especially when there is a minus before the number (or it’s in red ink). I come from a family of engineers, can you tell?

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorI’m always amazed when I’m in a store and the bill is 5.12 and I hand the person 10.12 and they look at me like I had two heads because the cash register doesn’t allow for simple math so they just stare at the money until I tell them what to do. They don’t even question me. Simple math….:)

As far as the window treatments…how long before or since did pi come in handy..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

Kate CrimminsI think I used it for a circular patio too. That’s at least twice in 60 years. There aren’t all that many things I do that are circular. However if you stick an “e” on the end, it’s quite tasty.

LikeLiked by 1 person

Fourth Generation FarmgirlHilarious! Right there with you….higher math was never my friend. I had a math tutor through high school algebra, geometry, and trig—gave up before calculus. Anyway, your post makes a lot of sense! 🙂

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorThanks, Tonya. If I wanted to learn a different language I would have gone a very different route..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

Fourth Generation Farmgirl😊

LikeLike

Carol FerencFun post, George. I love the illustrations, too! I’m sure I’ve never used algebra or geometry since high school. Years ago I watched a show on PBS that taught me some very quick tips for doing math problems easily. That was the best math instruction I’ve ever received!

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorThanks, Carol. I’ve always believed math teachers fall into two categories, very good or very bad. There is no in between. The problem is they know the material so well they just don’t know how to present it in a way that someone can understand. Like your PBS program. I just don’t get it..:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

Carol FerencYes, it’s too bad they don’t all make the subject more interesting . . . if possible.

LikeLike

In My Cluttered AtticI knew it! Those teachers lied to me. They told me one day I’d thank them for teaching me Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. I knew I wouldn’t though… mostly because I don’t know where any of those teachers are now. 😀

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorLol…maybe you can use an algebraic equation to determine their location. Maybe….:)

LikeLiked by 1 person

In My Cluttered AtticBut first, I’ll have to determine Y, X stands for the missing teachers. Maybe it’s because X marks the spot.

LikeLiked by 1 person

DailyMusingsOMG I just love this post!!!! Thank you George and thank you Mr. Hacker! Amen!

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorThanks, Lisa. Don’t you just love it when someone understands…:)

LikeLike

MiriamGreat post and Andrew Hacker is my new hero too. Cheers from a girl who has her basic maths covered! Amen.

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorLol…glad to know you have it covered.

LikeLiked by 1 person

MiriamJust the basic stuff, you know! 🙂

LikeLiked by 1 person

TheMoonLitHowlGeometry and Algebra were the bane of my existence! And the geometry teacher was one who gave the football players better grades than they deserved so they didn’t get suspended from a game. Kids would be so much better off if we taught them mortgages, percentages, interest rates, etc. About two months ago I went to a McDonalds. I ordered a large tea which costs all of $1.07 when tax in included. It turned out I had no dollar bills. I gave the young lady three quarters, three dimes, and two pennies. She tried to tell me I owed her more money. She couldn’t count the change! As no one was behind me I kindly tried to walk her through it. She gave up. Told me to go on. That she was “sure” I was right. Very sad.

LikeLike

WendyAmen! Adult math for sure, like figuring out the factor for a stock sale so you know how much the government is gouging you!

LikeLike

GeorgePost authorLol…yeah, I guess there is a down side to understanding adult math but it’s better the trying to figure out that foreign language of geometry, calculus, etc.

LikeLiked by 1 person