Q&A #4990

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching algebra in middle school

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From: Patt Willard

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002021707:57:04
Subject: Re: Teaching Algebra in Middle School

I am in agreement with Chris.  As a Florida teacher we are under the
gun so to speak to see to it that all students pass algebra.  There
are some people out there that think everyone can understand this
subject, but this is not true.  There are some people, middle school
or otherwise, that just do not have the cognitive ability to
understand algebraic thinking beyond the simple fact of substituting a
variable for an unknown amount (some can't even understand that).   I
firmly believe that the general math track in high school should have
been left in place.  In the area I live we have students drop out
because they can't pass Algebra or the FCAT.  Are we telling them they
are stupid just because they do not have the ability to grasp this
type of abstract thinking?   In high school I remember the business
math classes being designed for just that purpose "business" in which
people that were not capable of the higher order maths were still able
to develop skills to function in society as productive citizens.  Not
everyone was meant to be a rocket scientist.

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