New Math Requirements Affect Students

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New Math Requirements Affect Students

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If you walked into a Pre-Calculus class five years ago, the curriculum probably looked similar to an Algebra 1 class today.

Requirements for math in high school are continually being updated, and it seems that every year, kids are expected to learn things in earlier classes, and take more classes in order to graduate. Moe El-Hussieny, a math teacher at Community, thinks that these new, harder requirements are actually detrimental to math education. “Not only do I think they’re not necessary, I think they’re bad,” El-Hussieny said. “It puts the priority of math and science over other equally important things like sports and art.”

El-Hussieny has been teaching for ten years, and over that time, the requirements for graduation have been constantly raised. “Two years ago, you only had to take two years of math, and now we’re up to four.”

“When you make someone stay in a class they’re not interested in, they start working to pass the class, and they don’t retain the information as well.” El-Hussieny said that this forces teachers to slow the whole class down, which means that the people who are understanding the material end up not learning as much as they would if the class didn’t have to stop to explain it to everyone.

When asked if it changes the way the classes are taught, El-Hussieny responded, “Teachers find creative ways of helping [students] pass.” These include adding extra assignments to help them get their grades up, or being more lenient with late work so that they can get assignments in. “If you don’t force them to take the class, they’re more motivated to do well on their own and do the work.”

In the future, El-Hussieny predicts that “the requirements will go back down, because they’re not doing what [the Board of Education] are hoping they will do.” These raised requirements are all about teaching kids more math, but in reality they are just making kids remember less of it. “They learn it for the tests, and then forget it right afterward.”

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