Math’s Days are Numbered: Andrew Hacker

Part 1 of Math’s Days are Numbered, featuring Andrew Hacker, Professor of political science and mathematics at Queens College, City University of New York. His article, “Is Algebra Necessary?”, appeared in The New York Times in 2012.

(TRT 8:47)

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Dr. Hacker proved himself to be a better Political “Scientist” than a mathematician. He was extremely misleading in his use of statistics. He created the impression that one in or four high school students drop out because of the math requirements. A more carefull parsing of what he actually said is in order.

He said of those who dropped out for academic reasons, math requirements was the largest factor. But some drop out for non-academic reasons. Some drop out for PE or english or other subjects.

Shame on the interviewer for letting Dr. Hacker get away with this untruth. He should have been asked what fraction drop out because of the math requirements.

Then Dr. Hacker dropped an even bigger bovine turd on us. He indicated that only 0.6% of those who study algebra go on to major in Math. But what about the other disciplines that draw people who love math. An incomplete list includes Physics, and various Engineering disciplines.

Andrew hacker has a point. Don’t force the students who are clueless in math, to take the subject. It’s a waste of their time.