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What happened to Jr & Sr High Math?

bbodb1

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I do not want to push my kid unnecessarily, and am trying to find the right balance of courses for him. In my area, there is a big push for AP and Honors courses - though some private schools are doing away with AP courses.

It seems like some of the kids are not doing well with the current system.

The March 23-24th, 2019 WSJ article "The Right Way to Choose A College" , mentioned the following
"More and more students are reporting severe sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and thought of suicide as they struggle to meet unrealistically high expectations foisted upon them." ... The ultimate irony is that, even when these students do end up in selective colleges, many of them continue to struggle with mental and physical health issues, and often lack the independence, resilience and sense of purpose they need to graduate and enter the workforce."

There was an article in yesterday's WSJ, February 13, 2020 titled "Mental-Health Requests Strain Employees."
I will read the article ASAP but i hope the article does not suggest the mental and physical issues WITHOUT considering the effect of video games and social media consuming the quantities of time in student's lives these days.
 

pedro47

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Question are today’s students learning basic math & theory or are they been taught how to pass those SOL tests?
 

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I agree implementation of Common Core is beyond $&@$!!!!.
Agree w/ @bbodb1 regarding the pushing advance curriculum to every child. I currently have a 2nd grader who has been tutored since 1st grade to ensure she maintains grade level. I have to wield her IEP to protect her because social emotional needs are secondary to academic achievement. This shouldn’t be. Social emotional needs are a necessity and is hot topic for today’s parents however our educational system hasn’t advanced it’s curriculum to include.
 

SteelerGal

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Question are today’s students learning basic math & theory or are they been taught how to pass those SOL tests?
Pass tests. It’s why I tutor my children. I am looking to add into their IEP classic math is their primary instruction whenever possible.
 

bogey21

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When driving my Son to soccer, basketball or baseball practices I would drill him on math. To this day (at age 41) he still does most math in his head...

George
 

bbodb1

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When driving my Son to soccer, basketball or baseball practices I would drill him on math. To this day (at age 41) he still does most math in his head...

George
Ours is a simliar story, George. Our commute to practice and training was about one hour each way and we often had to leave just as soon as everyone got home from school. The kids learned pretty quickly how golden that hour could be in terms of doing homework, their reading, any homework that needed to be done. I always thought that experience gave them real world examples on how to budget their time - a very valuable lesson.
 

isisdave

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I graduated from a very highly rated high school in California in 1966, having taken Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Trig. I felt pretty good about my math skills, and always got As.

I went off to engineering school in New York, where every freshman from New York (and that was about 60%) had had a year of calculus.

THEN I found out that there wasn't just ONE calculus class. Besides the one named "Calculus I," there were three others, namely Mechanics, Physics I, and Chemistry I.

It was a miserable year. To make matters worse, I had never had to really work at something that didn't come easily. I had never heard of the concept of tutoring, and was too socially inept to find a study group.

The next year I had Thermodynamics. I was an EE student, but at the time ALL engineering students took the same core courses for the first 5 semesters. More calculus, of course, and I remember wondering when an electrical engineer was going to use steam tables, or anything else in that course. Well, I never did.
 

pedro47

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You sound liked my grandson at UNC working on his MBA a few years ago. I never knew that were some many types of Calculus & Calculus courses. He was the only American male student under the age of twenty four (24) and the only one with no work actual experience in his field
The majority of the class students were male foreigns; over the age of thirty(30). He did received his MBA Degree and is now employed by a Fortune 500 Employer.
I graduated from a very highly rated high school in California in 1966, having taken Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Trig. I felt pretty good about my math skills, and always got As.

I went off to engineering school in New York, where every freshman from New York (and that was about 60%) had had a year of calculus.

THEN I found out that there wasn't just ONE calculus class. Besides the one named "Calculus I," there were three others, namely Mechanics, Physics I, and Chemistry I.

It was a miserable year. To make matters worse, I had never had to really work at something that didn't come easily. I had never heard of the concept of tutoring, and was too socially inept to find a study group.

The next year I had Thermodynamics. I was an EE student, but at the time ALL engineering students took the same core courses for the first 5 semesters. More calculus, of course, and I remember wondering when an electrical engineer was going to use steam tables, or anything else in that course. Well, I never did.
 
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bizaro86

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You have posted about a subject that I am passionate about. I was a math major in college , have a master in statistics, taught college statistics and work professionally as a statistician. I also have a high school aged daughter and I'm very interested & involved in her curriculum.

In my opinion, only children that are truly GIFTED (and I mean "gifted" -- not above average) can master math in the sequence / ages that you are describing for your son. The strong math student should be on a track somewhere split between what YOU experienced and what your son will.

I just don't think kids have the maturity, brain development for Algebra 1 as a 7th grader - some introduction to algebraic concepts, yes, but not the first year of Algebra. Additionally, I don't think a high school junior can master calculus.

I also disagree with the courses that fall into a typical high school math curriculum. Unless you are going to be a science major, math major, engineer, etc, I don't see any use for trigonometry. It has a very limited application. Additionally, I would argue that statistics is a far more valuable class for a high schooler than calculus.

We are bombarded with data in our live every day and statistics is a better "life skill" that offers critical thinking that is more relevant than calculus. Just the concepts of hypothesis testing and confidence intervals are things we see all the time (eg political polling with a +/- 3% error).

I disagree with the previous poster about expectations being lower today. My daughter faces a much more challenging curriculum in high school than I ever did , and I was a good student. She was taking AP classes as a freshman -- I never had a single AP class until I was a senior. I find that crazy.
I'm a professional engineer, so I know and use calculus somewhat regularly. However, I completely agree that statistics is more useful than calculus for basically everyone. Calculus isnt hard to learn at the same time you're learning the scientific application of calculus for anyone suited to that route, so I think statistics would be much more useful in high school.

I somewhat disagree about trigonometry, which I use on a semi regular basis in my life. Two recent examples are figuring out angles on a new stone patio we built in my back yard, and helping my kids with getting a crafty/science project to fit together. I also think mastering trigonometry has improved my spatial awareness and intuition about how things work and fit together.

To the poster who said people can't do math in their head anymore, I would respectfully suggest that started well prior to the current crop of high schoolers. I can quickly multiply and divide 2/3 digit numbers in my head, a facility that consistently surprised my fellow-engineer coworkers. While I never worked with anyone older than a baby boomer, 100% of my coworkers from all generations would use a calculator for that. (And the older engineers always used the HPs with reverse polar notation, while the younger ones used direct entry TIs)
 

MULTIZ321

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Loved the Reverse Polar Notation feature.


Richard
 

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I am a firm believer in teaching advanced math even to people who will never use it. The discipline and critical thinking you learn is invaluable. I am probably biased as a trained engineer that worked as a research biochemist and did have 2 yrs of calculus in HS. We had a PhD mathematician that started with over 100 students as a sophmore (our HS started in 10th grade) and our senior class was 6 strong. She demanded a lot and gave easy grades if you tried. It was very hard on bright students to struggle like hell and have your grade based on effort not knowledge. I do not think it was an accident that of the 6 students only one was not ranked in the top 5.
 

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Should I Take Calculus in High School?.


.


Richard
 

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I still use my reverse Polish notation calculator at work but use it less and less with each passing year -- my computer is in front of me all of the time ready to do pretty much anything I need.

I am going to come to the defense of "students today". I really do get upset when I hear criticism of entire age cohort. The teens that I know are smart, hard working, preparing for the future, kind, and are better at many things than previous generations. This is true with each new generation that comes along. There are certainly the screw ups with today's kids, but that was true in previous generations, too.
 

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Our "good" school district is on the same path as yours with kids taking Calc 1 or 2 in 11th grade and Calc 2 or 3 in 12th grade.
It's too much. It's burning the kids out.
I go to many of the "Gifted students" PTA meetings and am learning it's backfiring on our kids. In our high school, Kids who used to love math are now dropping down a level or 2 and feeling like failures (to what used to be normal- taking Calc 1 in Senior year) .

20-30 years ago, the highest level in high school was AP Calc. That was enough. Me and many of my friends got into top school engineering programs with this, and in college you learned the deeper level calcs.

and then I have the opposite problem with my younger kids where they are dumbing down math, not focusing at all on math facts, drills, practice. We now have a "no homework policy" for elementary school because "research has shown that homework doesn't help elementary school kids" BS. This "research" seems to keep changing at the whim of government and causes curriculums/priorities to shift every few years and just confuse parents and kids. Common Core is crap. We need to get back to the basics with math, do lots of practice, drills of math facts.

Because of this cockamamie system, most involved parents I know are spending lots of extra time and money on math (and other) tutors/resource centers for their kids.
 

Cornell

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Our "good" school district is on the same path as yours with kids taking Calc 1 or 2 in 11th grade and Calc 2 or 3 in 12th grade.
It's too much. It's burning the kids out.
I go to many of the "Gifted students" PTA meetings and am learning it's backfiring on our kids. In our high school, Kids who used to love math are now dropping down a level or 2 and feeling like failures (to what used to be normal- taking Calc 1 in Senior year) .

20-30 years ago, the highest level in high school was AP Calc. That was enough. Me and many of my friends got into top school engineering programs with this, and in college you learned the deeper level calcs.

and then I have the opposite problem with my younger kids where they are dumbing down math, not focusing at all on math facts, drills, practice. We now have a "no homework policy" for elementary school because "research has shown that homework doesn't help elementary school kids" BS. This "research" seems to keep changing at the whim of government and causes curriculums/priorities to shift every few years and just confuse parents and kids. Common Core is crap. We need to get back to the basics with math, do lots of practice, drills of math facts.

Because of this cockamamie system, most involved parents I know are spending lots of extra time and money on math (and other) tutors/resource centers for their kids.
Agree 100 percent with all of this
 

itradehilton

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This is the same path my youngest son took, along with several other AP classes. If your child can handle the demand of the class work load he could take the corresponding AP exams and recieve college credit.
 

rapmarks

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Our "good" school district is on the same path as yours with kids taking Calc 1 or 2 in 11th grade and Calc 2 or 3 in 12th grade.
It's too much. It's burning the kids out.
I go to many of the "Gifted students" PTA meetings and am learning it's backfiring on our kids. In our high school, Kids who used to love math are now dropping down a level or 2 and feeling like failures (to what used to be normal- taking Calc 1 in Senior year) .

20-30 years ago, the highest level in high school was AP Calc. That was enough. Me and many of my friends got into top school engineering programs with this, and in college you learned the deeper level calcs.

and then I have the opposite problem with my younger kids where they are dumbing down math, not focusing at all on math facts, drills, practice. We now have a "no homework policy" for elementary school because "research has shown that homework doesn't help elementary school kids" BS. This "research" seems to keep changing at the whim of government and causes curriculums/priorities to shift every few years and just confuse parents and kids. Common Core is crap. We need to get back to the basics with math, do lots of practice, drills of math facts.

Because of this cockamamie system, most involved parents I know are spending lots of extra time and money on math (and other) tutors/resource centers for their kids.
And I was going to reply earlier. My son tutored math earlier in his career, and could have worked at it eighty hours or more a week. He said that many children were enrolled in math classes at a level too high for them, but we’re under pressure to get into good colleges.
 

bbodb1

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Needvaca,

I agree with much of your point - I don't think we are putting the proper academic work expectations on our students today. We are hearing constantly about the 'evils' of homework - as if independent learning is something to be avoided. Learning comes from doing - and while I agree there should be a reasonable limit to what is expected of a student at home, I feel like we (as a society) have over corrected in this regard to the point where many teachers are reluctant to use homework as a tool of learning which it can be.

Our students lose a valuable experience if they are not expected to put forth their own efforts toward learning. Yes, sometimes they will struggle and even fail - but isn't it much better to do so when the outcome can be addressed with the teacher the next day than to never risk standing on one's own (so to speak)?

The 'too much' you mention above is NOT school work, but everything else that goes on once a student leaves school for the day. Those kids you perceive as the victims of backfire are more than likely involved in too many activities, sports, video games and social media engagement - all of which are taking significant amounts of time away from what used to be time at home to do schoolwork. I am NOT suggesting a child should do homework exclusively from 4:00 pm until bedtime (with only breaks for chores and meals), but the responsibility of learning must fall on the student and their parents first and foremost.

(On the whole) I feel that in the present educational environment, we are asking less each year of our students, and they (in turn) are delivering less. It is a vicious cycle.

Are there exceptions to this? Absolutely (and thankfully). Are there some kids who are overworking themselves academically - no doubt. But I think the 'too much' description I offered two paragraphs back describes (by far) most students these days.

One thing I am confident of is this - I think every one of us in this thread appreciates what an education means and the opportunities it can offer.
 

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Loved the Reverse Polar Notation feature.


Richard
I love my HP 12c more than I should. One day at work I accidentally left it in a colleagues office. When he noticed he had two, he dropped one off in mine. When I went to use it, I immediately knew it was not mine just by the feel of the buttons.

The only app I have ever actually paid for on my iPhone is a replica of the 12c and I use it all the time. (At some point HP must have noticed someone built a knock off, made them change the name/look, and HP came out with their own. The knock-off works great and I’m to cheap to pay a 2nd time for the real deal.)
 

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Just found an article from great schools .org "Is your child being tracked in math?" from 2014, noted "To take algebra or not to take algebra, that is the 8th grade question." In five years, that question has been pushed down to 7th grade. Our pediatrician treats a lot of stressed out kids with issues due to school work.
 
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