Finally, Someone Understands

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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I rest my case.

 

42 thoughts on “Finally, Someone Understands

  1. Jodi

    I 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! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Kim

    Very 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.

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  3. Helen Devries

    Thank 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…

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  4. Sara McDaren

    I’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.

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    1. George Post author

      That’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……

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  5. Ilona Elliott

    George 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.

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    1. George Post author

      Thanks, 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..:)

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. vanbytheriver

    I 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……

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      1. vanbytheriver

        Yep. 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. ☺

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  7. Pistachios

    I 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

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    1. George Post author

      I 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..:)

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Kate Crimmins

    I 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?

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    1. George Post author

      I’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..:)

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Kate Crimmins

        I 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.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Carol Ferenc

    Fun 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!

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    1. George Post author

      Thanks, 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..:)

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  10. In My Cluttered Attic

    I 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. 😀

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  11. TheMoonLitHowl

    Geometry 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.

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    1. George Post author

      Lol…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.

      Liked by 1 person

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