washingtonpost.com reports: Algebra Poses a Problem of Timing
Algebra is a significant educational barrier, educators say. Advocates of better mathematics instruction complain that parents and elementary school teachers frighten children by speaking of algebra as if it were an ugly troll guarding the bridge to math and science courses. It requires students to handle abstractions, including unknown quantities and word problems, but several teachers say success in algebra brings confidence that can extend to other difficult courses.
"A lot of algebra courses aren't really teaching algebra," said Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "And schools are giving up on kids who can't do basic arithmetic, putting them in phony algebra courses to cover up the problem."
Anders Jacobsen |