Date: Feb 20, 1995 5:38 PM
Author: Joan Reinthaler
Subject: alg/geo combo

The urge to accelerate kids to calculus in high school carrys with it all 
sorts of dangers, among which is that a lot of important math is usually
skipped along the way (data analysis, vectors, matrices, TIME to absorb
the idea of limits, polar functions, parametric functions etc) and kids
can easily find themselves accelerated to beyond their maturity level -
to beyond their ability to abstract.
There are kids (very few) who ought to move just as fast as we
can move them, but - and this is important - the college voices we hear
extolling the virtues of kids who have had calculus in high school are
NOT, by and large, the math faculty. Those voices are the voices of the
college admissions staff, and how much math do you suppose that the
average admissions officer knows? They like kids to have accelerated
because they think that this makes their jobs easier. They don't have to
really look at who the kid is, they can just skim off the AP kids.
Meanwhile, the college math people (read the Reform Calculus bulletin
board) are deploring the fact that the students they get don't know
enough ALGEBRA.
Joan Reinthaler
Sidwell Friends School
e-mail joanr@umd5.umd.edu