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Raising the H.S. Math standard

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Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) is talking about raising the Math standard requirement for graduation by making Algebra II a requirement and why not? It's a fact that future jobs will require higher level Math proficiency, so why lower the bar for Monterey's graduates?

Some say not all are college bound and while that is true, whether a student is college bound or not, Math proficiency will still be a big part of any equation in the real world and not just the world of academia. School board members don't want to make graduating easier, but rather to make education more relevant for the lives of our young people who face the daunting task of fitting into a science and technology world. That world will always require number sense and number talk.

Every aspect of our society needs Math and for that reason Monterey's secondary students need to have a solid Math foundation and not an easier path the graduation. Stanford is now offering science writing, solar cell energy for engineers, and quantum mechanics for engineers as their free online offerings. More and more high level universities are offering classes from software engineering to MBA programs freely to students who have a computer and the time to invest in the class learning.

With these kinds of bargain basement learning opportunities, people ought to be clamoring for the chance to implement the knowledge that seasoned professionals are offering on a silver platter to them. Think of the ways you will be able to use a quadratic equation in your everyday life from crocheting a border on a your favorite afghan to planning the solar panels in your organic garden. Nothing about math is mysterious or mystical -- it's all practical and pragmatic and in this education market, the price is right with all the free online courses being offered.

After all, there's more to Math than being the fastest at solving the rubric cube puzzle. Being able to get those colors lined up in 15 seconds is commendable for things like entry into a major university, but those activities are about as useful as championship Chess and Bridge playing. It helps on the sundeck of your vacation cruise to kill time, but it doesn't substantially impact climate change, specifically global warming; fracking or any of the other environmental puzzles that the human race must solve for earth's posterity.

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