Despite the importance of math, and the many attempts at reforming curricula and pedagogy, there continues to be systemic failure in the math education of students. There is a widening gap between what is taught in high school math and what is expected in college. There is a troubling disconnect between how math is taught in school and how professional scientists, engineers, and mathematicians use math. There is confusion in teaching why math is relevant by using clumsy examples that require much more facility with reading comprehension than with mathematical reasoning. Offloading arithmetic to calculators and substituting what amounts to algebra instruction in its place makes no sense pedagogically, developmentally, or in achieving the overarching goal of raising math standards. Children need a solid foundation in quantitative literacy. Instead, students arrive in college who have no sense about numbers, but they are expected to learn calculus in order to complete their degree requirements. Setting students up to fail at any level—K-12 or college—is unethical and a waste of time and resources. Yet this has become standard practice in education.
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