### Math is not tougher to learn. The sooner we get that the better we'll be.

The Arizona Republic details the challenge one teacher faces in getting her students, college seniors, to pass the necessary-for-graduation AIMS math test. Hats off to Ms. Sylvester, and kudos for recognizing the good work of teachers by author Anne Ryman. The belmish on otherwise compelling reporting is this sentence: "More students fail the math part than they fail reading and writing because math is often tougher to learn and many students don't see the value of mastering it."

For an educational culture that has in large part laid to rest the notion that the buck stops with the child (maybe we do more of that for our little ones than high school students), saddling students with the blame for their failures in mathematics seems like a throw-back. I know some good math teachers who would vehemently disagree that math is tougher to learn. And the suggestion that students have less incentive to learn math begs the question: less incentive than what? History? Chemistry? Please. Students have incentive to learn when good teachers reveal the rare gems within a discipline. Some students will never be inspired in Chemistry, but some will see the genius behind the way hydrogen and oxygen bind. There are ways (pdf) to get math to mean something for students. Getting teachers that have solid math backgrounds is a start (pdf).

If I may be bold. More students fail the math part of AIMS than they fail reading and writing becasue high school math is tougher to teach and many students are never exposed to the value of mastering it.

If I may be bolder. More students fail the math part of AIMS than they fail reading and writing becasue fewer qualified people teach high school math than almost any other school subject. It's no wonder many students are never exposed to the value of mathematics. Nearly a third of high school math classes are taught by teachers who do not have a major or

For an educational culture that has in large part laid to rest the notion that the buck stops with the child (maybe we do more of that for our little ones than high school students), saddling students with the blame for their failures in mathematics seems like a throw-back. I know some good math teachers who would vehemently disagree that math is tougher to learn. And the suggestion that students have less incentive to learn math begs the question: less incentive than what? History? Chemistry? Please. Students have incentive to learn when good teachers reveal the rare gems within a discipline. Some students will never be inspired in Chemistry, but some will see the genius behind the way hydrogen and oxygen bind. There are ways (pdf) to get math to mean something for students. Getting teachers that have solid math backgrounds is a start (pdf).

If I may be bold. More students fail the math part of AIMS than they fail reading and writing becasue high school math is tougher to teach and many students are never exposed to the value of mastering it.

If I may be bolder. More students fail the math part of AIMS than they fail reading and writing becasue fewer qualified people teach high school math than almost any other school subject. It's no wonder many students are never exposed to the value of mathematics. Nearly a third of high school math classes are taught by teachers who do not have a major or

*even*a minor in mathematics. The problem and several solutions outlined here (pdf).
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