>Whatever all the problems are with adult innumeracy, >using the current widely available junk commercial >textbooks and the teaching that is similar to the junk >in these books do not help solve the problem. Here are >some reasons why (this is not an exhaustive list):
No need to go on. I agree most modern textbooks are awful. But you simply must remember how we got to this point. It was observed that mathy books did not work well for many students. Precisely in the attempt to reach more students, the mathiness was gradually leached out of the texts and out of the curriculum so that, today, there is very little math in math education.
Now, perhaps you think that struggling students cannot learn math when no math is there. Not only are you quite right about that, but even mathy students will not learn much math when there is no math. So this trend towards leaching the math out of mathematics is a dead loss all around. Thank you, Education Mafia.
By all means, put the math back into the math texts. Then, you will do a better job teaching the better students. You will certainly fail, through no fault of yours, to teach the students who lack either the aptitude or the interest in mathematics. And you will have come around full circle.
Perhaps you despair of being able to solve the problem of teaching math to adults. I think it is out of your hands. Partly, the students come to you far too late. And partly, it is a faux problem. Many of these adult students do not learn math because they do not want to. Maybe we should just leave them alone.
Finally, you write,
>Colleges and universities need an effective way to >identify students with these difficulties and then have >them take appropriate coursework on reading skills >before progressing to regular college or remedial >coursework in other subjects.
Are you sure that students who cannot read belong in college? You may want to rethink that.