When was the last time you used the quadratic equation in your real life? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Still, agility with mathematical concepts and operations is important. Does math education need a makeover? Emeritus political science professor Andrew Hacker assesses the situation in this July 2012 *New York Times *editorial.

Read it here: Hacker, “Is algebra necessary?"

- Hacker emphasizes, at several points in the essay, that he highly values mathematics; indeed, he considers mathematics to be “integral to our civilization.” Despite his reverence for mathematics, though, he argues that taking and passing algebra should not be obligatory in high school or college. Why are these two assertions not contradictory? Summarize what Hacker says about the difference between mathematical competence and algebra. Do you agree with the distinction he draws? Why or why not?
- Hacker proposes that, instead of algebra, other forms of “quantitative reasoning” could be taught; one of his suggestions focuses on the Consumer Price Index. Do you agree that a course or unit on the CPI would be a useful alternative to algebra? Why or why not?
- In addition to figures and statistics drawn from a variety of sources, Hacker’s They Say includes statements by several educators. Choose any two such quotations and evaluate how well Hacker frames them in a “quotation sandwich,” as described in Chapter 3 of your text.
- To what extent does Hacker’s essay apply to your personal situation? Did you struggle through algebra in high school? Will you need to score well in algebra for the degree or certificate you are currently pursuing? Hacker asserts that “[d]emanding algebra across the board actually skews a student body, not necessarily for the better.” Write an essay responding to that assertion. Use your personal experience as evidence, and take a position that supports, selectively supports, or refutes Hacker’s argument that algebra shouldn’t be obligatory for all programs of study.

I disagree with other forms of "quantitative reasoning” in replacement of rudimentary algebra. Its a really cheap thing to do just take those classes math helps you make sense of things.

Posted by: Trey | 09/10/2017 at 11:32 PM

I believe that algebra should be mandatory. You can use math in many ways than you realize throughout your day. You may not be using algebra, but taking algebra helps train your mind to do calculations faster than you would have done without algebra.

Posted by: Trevor B | 10/07/2017 at 08:33 AM

I feel as if algebra should be something that everyone has to learn during their educational career. It is a baseline for many other fields in math and definitely helps in understanding those other courses. Most people use algebra in their everyday lives without even realizing it. We develop a better ability to problem solve by learning important math subjects such as algebra. Being a college student and taking courses that apply directly to algebra and building off of its core ideas means that having previous classes in algebra is very important. By replacing algebra with other math courses people will lose some of the core basics to algebra and might have a harder time later with a math class or even whatever job they may have.

Posted by: Nick S | 10/11/2017 at 11:22 AM

I believe that basic algebra should be taught to everyone because there are some things we use everyday. It is especially important as an introduction to other math courses. Even by replacing algebra with other courses the students would still have to be taught some algebra anyways to keep up. That being said, I personally took two algebra classes and I think that was unnecessary. Just a simple basic class will do just fine.

Posted by: K Thompson | 10/11/2017 at 11:41 PM

I believe that algebra should continue to be incorporated into classroom curriculum everywhere. Sure I may not be using the quadratic equation in everyday life, but algebra benefits me in areas such as basic problem solving and even specific tasks such as dosage calculations in my nursing classes. These are all things people forget when they talk about algebra.

Posted by: Aaron | 10/11/2017 at 11:49 PM

I believe that schools should continue to teach algebra. The author is mistaken because he overlocks the fact that algebra is essential in order for students to understand other math concepts. Though I concede that algebra may not be as important as other math concepts I still insists that it is necessary to learn.

Posted by: Emma | 10/28/2017 at 07:27 PM

I always thought that algebra is an essential science that enhances the understanding of this world and makes you look at it through a different paradigm. The various companies, like https://flashessay.com/do-my-math , Google and Microsoft have already proven the importance of it.

Posted by: Josh Riley | 12/26/2017 at 12:40 PM

I think that it's really important to have algebra skills. While I do agree that some of the algebra they give us in school is a bit out there, those skills can be used in our everyday life. For example, learning how to find out how much money we need to have in a month is really important. So if we are able to find out about how much we make in a week and how much all expenses are needed to live, we are able to start also putting some of it in savings. That's why I say they should keep making it so important for students to know, because yes it make seem like a useless skill, but it has a lot of uses in the real world that everyone should need to know.

Posted by: Austin Maloney | 09/04/2018 at 11:03 AM

Very few people seem to excel at higher levels of math or want to do it for that matter. It can be discouraging when you don't do well in these classes for lack of interest or the necessary developed ability, but still you must somehow pass the classes anyway. I've found that the lack of gifted math teachers can contribute to this problem. I myself was pretty bad in high school math, and more skilled and interested in art. Online learning where you can learn at your own pace and see the subjects from many different angles can help. These days I study math as a kind of challenge or intellectual curiosity. Though I've gotten better at it, subjects like calculus are still difficult at first and have a steep learning curve. However, it's rewarding when you finally show some progress, and with some effort you can surprise yourself.

Posted by: Ben | 09/04/2018 at 11:11 AM

In the article “Is algebra necessary?" created by Hacker emphasizes, he claimed that mathematics is surely significant for our cities and the country. However, he doesn't think it is right to require students in high school or college to study mathematics instead of making it alternative. From my perspective, I think her opinion is great, but it is not convincing enough for me to agree with. Firstly, I am majoring in engineering which is required tons of calculations, and I am really tired of math.So, if the math is optional in college, will the person like me take the classes? nobody is sure about that. Furthermore, if all those majors that required massive of math ability while the math is not requiring, how can people tell the effectiveness of the college or the major?

Posted by: Jiacheng Zhang | 09/04/2018 at 11:28 AM