The Math Myth eBook Ô The Math Kindle -

The Math Myth ➩ [Ebook] ➤ The Math Myth By Andrew Hacker ➵ – Andrew Hacker’s 2012 New York Times op ed uestioning the reuirement of advanced mathematics in our schools instantly became one of the paper’s most widely circulated articles Why he wondered do we Andrew Hacker’s New York Times op ed uestioning the reuirement of advanced mathematics in our schools instantly became one of the paper’s most widely circulated articles Why he wondered do we inflict a full menu of mathematics—algebra geometry trigonometry even calculus—on all young Americans regardless of their interests or aptitudes The Math Myth The Math Kindle - expands Hacker’s scrutiny of many widely held assumptions like the notions that mathematics broadens our minds that mastery of azimuths and asymptotes will be needed for most jobs that the entire Common Core syllabus should be reuired of every student He worries that a frenzied emphasis on STEM is diverting attention from other pursuits and subverting the spirit of the countryIn fact Hacker honors mathematics as a calling he has been a professor of mathematics and extols its glories and its goals Yet he shows how mandating it for everyone prevents other talents from being developed and acts as an irrational barrier to graduation and careers He proposes alternatives including teaching facility with figures uantitative reasoning and understanding statistics The Math Myth is sure to spark a heated and needed national conversation not just about mathematics but about the kind of people and society we want to be.

10 thoughts on “The Math Myth

  1. Kurt Pankau Kurt Pankau says:

    I have a degree in mathematics I work with technology and I use math routinely in my job so when I picked up Andrew Hacker’s anti STEM manifesto I expected to hate it So I was actually surprised to find the overview section compelling Hacker’s thesis is that STEM is over emphasized in American education and that this does net harm than good to students I disagree but I like to be challenged and I was on board with this book for the first ten pages or so I was eager to see his argumentsUnfortunately for his cause Hacker puts on an exhibition in fallacious logic uestionable reasoning and outright dishonesty His central thesis seems to be that math is just too darn hard despite the fact that children in other countries don’t have the same problem with it as Americans He never touches on possible reasons for this be they cultural genetic or otherwise Most of his “arguments” are laid out in speech bubbles as unsourced uotations His analogies are often hilariously flawed He asserts that being a strong swimmer wouldn’t help you as a lacrosse player—seemingly ignorant of the physical conditioning that underpins both During a lengthy screed against Common Core which is not uncontroversial admittedly he tries to delegitimize the Association of Governors advocating for it by complaining that only twenty nine out of fifty governors showed up to the meeting Most of them in other wordsIn fact there’s anti elitism throughout this book He rails against highly selective institutions like Harvard for using stringent math reuirements as part of their selection process He builds this towards a chapter wherein—and I’m not making any of this up—he posits a cabal of elite mathematics scholars working to keep math in curricula but making sure it’s so hard that no one but themselves can excel in it leaving them free to do research while grad students and TA’s handle the teaching work He calls these scholars “mandarins” because hey if you’re going to be insulting why not be a little racist too I guessHis solutions are just as bizarre He advocates small group discussions over math problems In his most egregious chapter he suggests making the SAT a take home exam to get around possible problems of sexism And this chapter is where he does his most flagrantly dishonest work In order to prove that the SAT is sexist he takes PSAT scores for the state of Ohio and breaks them out by gender—only he doesn’t have the gender data so he goes by first name He excludes “ethnic” names and guesses on gender neutral names using the ratios he already had as a guideline And he admits that fully a fourth of the data fits these category So when he ends up showing that boys have a 54 46 edge over girls it’s hard to take that 8% difference seriously because of the amount of guess work that went into an already small sampleBut this isn't dishonest just sketchy For dishonesty I would direct you to the chart of unemployment rates in specified counties expressed as a ratio of the unemployment rate in that county to that of the entire nation This makes a county with a 9% or so unemployment rate show up on the chart at a head slappy 134% Elsewhere Hacker identifies math as the leading academic reason for the 20% high school drop out rate While he in one instance admits that there are other significant NON ACADEMIC reasons but he never offers any real numbers about what those are He just lets the reader see 20% drop out rate attributed to mathThe fact that his stats are so atrocious is what makes this book contemptible instead of purely bad To use misleading math to argue that math education is unnecessary? It’s almost like some bizarro reductio ad absurdum argument FOR comprehensive math education because not only does he lie but he lies pretty transparently The secret message of this book could be learn statistics so you won’t be fooled by books like this In fact I’ve changed my mind Everyone should read this book purely as an inoculation against ignorance

  2. Jessica Jessica says:

    Let me get this out of the way right off the bat This book has a plethora of semantics errors The fact that Hacker does not have a background in mathematics education is obvious to anyone who doesNow that being said there are many good valid points in this book He just doesn't know how to articulate what he means I can decode his message but my biggest fear is that others cannot Perhaps others who are in the position of effecting change in the world of mathematics education That's a bit scary to think aboutHowever I hate the idea that what he's trying to say will get lost in the hubbub The crux of his message is this Hardly anyone has practical need of advanced mathematics yet we reuire it of all our young people which then creates an unnecessary barrier to success Simply put why should kids be forced to learn how to factor trinomials when they don't know how to do taxes chose a health insurance plan manage their finances or even pick the lowest unit price of an item at the store? Even worse we're denying them high school diplomas or admission to college or college diplomas because of these math reuirements which are neither interesting NOR valuable to themOf course there's a part of me that wants to say that sometimes we have to do stuff we don't want to do and that it's for their own good even if they don't realize it But honestly that just doesn't sit right with me I'd kind of be okay with that except that they could be spending their time developing strong numeracy uantitative literacy skills instead I honestly don't see what value it adds to force the every student to learn advanced math for math's sake when there are other ways of helping them become good problem solvers who are fluent with numbers Plus it causes obvious harm to those who can't successfully jump over the hurdleSo yeah Also I teach advanced math I think there's a place for it I just don't think it should be reuired of every student Nor should we do away with math in school entirely We just need to rethink WHY we're forcing advanced math upon ALL kids and whether we can accomplish what we desire in a way that's beneficial to the average student

  3. Jean Jean says:

    Hacker has an interesting hypothesis He wants to change the instruction of mathematics in school In fact he wants to emphasize arithmetic and have mathematics for STEM science technology engineering math students As a person who struggled in arithmetic but excelled in mathematics I find this interesting Hacker claims math is the cause of many high school and college drop outs He claims calculus is never used by the majority of people after leaving schoolAs a scientist I had some problems with Hacker’s argument I read the book because on some points I agree with Hacker I have a problem with his unreferenced claims and he played games with his statistics to make them deliberately misleading I think Hacker is correct that we should not try to follow the lead of Asia on rote learning The United States in the 18th and 19th century lead the world with innovative education; we in fact educated all children not just those of the wealthy We need to sit down and rethink education completely I agree with Hacker that we need to teach analytical and strategic thinking encourage creativity and teach people to think out of the box Hacker states that with the over emphasis on math we have segregated social science and the humanities to a place of lesser value I have seen this happen and it needs to be corrected as these fields are of eual value to science math and engineering Hacker states we need to include in the regular course work art and music as both also use math and arithmetic skills and teach creativity Hacker also recommends that arithmetic and math skills be taught to the level and job reuirements rather than everyone in high school having to learn trig and calculus He provides the example of a person unable to enroll in a cosmetology course because she failed algebra in high schoolTo me education is providing an introduction of a wide range of topics information and subjects in a stimulating and exciting way to grab the student’s interest and imagination to want to learn If one grabs the attention of a student in a topic so they want to make a career in that field then that is success I think time and money should be spent on educating better math teachers and improving or creating better ways to teach math and arithmetic I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible This book would be effective if read in book format or download the PDF from audiobook publisher Barry Press does a good job narrating the book Press is an actor that also narrates audiobooks

  4. Paul Comeau Paul Comeau says:

    Good little repetitive if one is used to consuming books and podcasts like FreakanomicsEssentially lays out the case not to eliminate math but just we shouldn't emphasize high level math so much in grade school and high school High level in this case being beyond first year algebraOne thing I appreciated it was the 'why do we just measure our educational success against STEM? What about fine arts how do we stack up against other countries there?' sort of attitude

  5. Zach Zach says:

    This book should be reuired reading for every teacher at every level of our education system Arithmetic is necessary for an enlightened citizenry Algebra and Geometry might make you a critical thinker Calculus could save you from intellectual rot But reuiring ALL prospective college students to be fluent in advanced mathematics is chasing millions of otherwise capable children from both high school and advanced degrees It is just as likely that a banker will use Dostoevsky as differential euations Just as a painter might use fractal geometry than Foucault An enlightened mind takes many forms

  6. Edward Sullivan Edward Sullivan says:

    Hacker convincingly debunks the nonsensical assertions about the practical value of reuiring all students to master higher level mathematics and persuasively explains why America's obsessions one size fits all approach to schooling does a gross disservice to students and institutions of learning Lively provocative and insightful

  7. Rachel Rachel says:

    Challenges prevailing thought and really gets you thinking

  8. James Carter James Carter says:

    I am now honestly regretful to have read The Math Myth And Other STEM Delusions which is a sorry piece of workThe author makes so many logical fallacies that the book should be a classic textbook study in logic classes It's uite comical especially when he uses a mathematical example which contains an error almost every timeIn page 5 he said that the students will have to confront uestions like this Then I turned to the next page; it's just the objectives of two different topics Where are the uestions he alludes to?He said that he would provide an example of bad coding but he never did I can't find the page that was onPage 48 shows a typical physics problem but the author fails to make 77 as an exponent I was kind of unsure at that point because of the error Plus it's an unfair uestion because it's never asked of the students in mathematics but in physics The author is really trying too hard here; he would do this for just about every problem in the book which is not a representative of a typical problem in state exams for middle and high school students They are much easier than you think; just google any state exam for examples and look at them There is nothing complicated about them and they rarely ask for anything beyond the basics and are fairly repetitive year in year outPg 49 the author says The candidates are expected to master Gaussian distributions and Markov chains along with Brownian motion and Chapman Kolmogorov euations Yeah duh they have to master Gaussian distributions which is just a fancy name for normal distribution better known as the bell curve hello? that is pretty much the foundation of statistics Markov Chain which includes a specific matrix to be computed is admittedly fun to work with I'll have to say but it's no means complicated Brownian motion and Chapman Kolmogorov euations are just variants of the Markov Chain The author is just merely throwing a lot of fancy terminology to scare the readers mainly because they don't have the experience to form a positive thoughtHence that's why I am incredibly surprised that he threw in the word azimuth Never in my over 25 years of doing mathematics have I heard of the word I just assumed that it was an alcoholic drink I looked it up in the Internet and I was like My God that's it? Worse than that azimuth isn't a concept used in math but in science It's maybe the biggest strawman fallacy of the book and inappropriately soOn the other hand asymptotes there are only 3 types of them horizontal vertical and obliue each with a different yet small set of rules are pretty easy to understand and deal with limits which is the foundation of calculus I'll tell you what If you still don't know what asymptotes are go to YouTube and look for videos on them and watch them for a couple of hours Pick any and discard any but just find the one you think that fits your style of learning By the end don't be surprised that you'll come away knowing a lot better about asymptotes Ladies and gentlemen this is called effortOn page 45 the author tries to mislead the readers with 7366 gallons Really it should have been 07366 from 34275825On page 154 is the list of mathematics scores in 2014 and Portugal is ranked 27 with 87 points ahead of Italy with 485 points Very nice work The error is so simple that it can be easily correctedOn page 167 the author pulls an example from a survey Why does he do that when the stated price is wrong? 1 0411599 943 not 949At this point it's getting to be uite obvious that Hacker doesn't know how to double check the calculationsIn several instances the author tries to perform his own statistics especially the Ohio project to make a point which turns out to be statistically invalid It's called lying with statistics Are you familiar with that concept Mr Hacker? Or is that how you made your career like Cyril Burt?I am going to pull up a real life example to underscore what mathematics has done for me My girlfriend and I played an Escape Room game google it to have a better idea of what I am talking about and we were the only ones there when it should have been a group of 10 so we had to proceed regardless The time limit was 1 hour and we were escorted to a room in which we had to basically figure everything out ourselves By the end of the 1 hour we were literally 1 lock away there were like over 20 of them from getting out the double room before the time ran out The host told us that no 2 person group ever survived the first room and he was shocked that we almost beat the whole thing I knew that if we had people involved the labor would have been less time consuming because we were trying out so many cases usually in the form of combinations and somewhere among the cases was the solution to the lockThe point is My mathematical training made me prepared for the challenge of the game My girlfriend who knew nothing about it was literally my assistant; I just told her what to do and she performed the tasks like trying out every combinations that I wrote down because they were all of the possible combinations there were and it worked every time Although the game was not all about combinatorics I was very analytical in what each puzzle as presented to me in a different form was asking for and I thought rapidly what I needed to do to advance from one puzzle to the next It was a lot of pressure and I was uite proud of it despite not beating the puzzle on timeI've been a mathematics teacher for 3 years and know exactly what's going on in middle and high schools The six problems I see too often when it comes to doing poorly in math are as follows1 The students don't put in the time or effort to do the work including reviewing and studying the materials2 They are lazy3 They haven't mastered at least 25% of the basics in the prereuisite course4 They can't read5 BS doesn't work any6 Their I is below averageFor the 6th reason I am perfectly okay with these students being consigned to doing basic math with basic living skills money time measurements and some statistics The I cut off score should be at around 85 to 90 which consists roughly 15 to 25% of the student population because I've seen enough to know that just about most of them cannot do advanced math beyond the usual arithmetic It's not their fault; they just can't help itAs for the rest of the students there's no excuse really Do the work Many mathematics teachers are pretty good in explaining the stuff; hell the students can go to YouTube and find a good video on a certain topic There are so many great math books on that any of them will do The point is they have to put in the time and effort periodThe author mentions the international ranking of the students in mathematics What he completely fails to realize is that if the scores from poverty level group are taken away and we look at the group of students who are provided with 0 to 10% free lunch USA actually ranks number 1 in the world When we go higher in percentage of free lunch USA still ranks number 1 in the world compared to other countries in the same classification This means that USA actually has the best education system in the world It's the African Americans Latinos ELLs and SPED students that drag the overall average score down because USA has laws that reuire all of them to be educated in the least restricted environment through free appropriate public education which I entirely supportHacker says on page 5 Under current expectations every young American will study geometry trigonometry plus two years of algebra with talk of adding calculus to the menu It's not true Many don't ever get that far because they still haven't mastered the basics and usually stay behind What I am bothered the most is the schools keep advancing the undeserving students to higher level math courses despite their poor foundation just because they had a good grade in class That's why standardized tests exist to give a true albeit harsh assessment of where the student really stands and hence the large supply of students for remedial math courses Honestly in my opinion up to 70% of the college eligible students do not really belong in collegeFrom time to time the author mentions how little of math is used in people's professions Of course that's because they are already knowledgeable in various theories and have seen just about all aka schematic knowledge when they routinely encounter problems which are child's play to them That's why all of the problems presented in the book are a child's play to me In other words there is absolutely no way the lay readers would have understood what to do; hence this separates the novices from the experts The experts have spent vast amount of time studying the major of their choice and the novices either have expressed zero interest or don't have the time to do itHacker often contradicts himself when he says that math is worthless and then admits later that math is beautiful and is a necessary part of life When he does that every time he kept losing credibility until it was less than zero He proverbially shoots himself in the foot even further by teaching math lessons in chapter 12; I can guarantee him that I can get 25 students that will never understand anything he says no matter how simple he makes the mathematical concepts He is just mad that math is hard and that he can't understand it; that's just too damn bad Next time put in the effort and time just like the rest of us who mastered itUp next is my favorite perspective of how mathematics in public education system has progressed from decade to decade which seems to align with the author's vision of mathematicsTeaching Math in 1960sA logger sells a truckload of lumber for 100 His cost of production is 45 of the price What is his profit?Teaching Math in 1970sA logger sells a truckload of lumber for 100 His profit is 15 of the price What is his profit?Teaching Math in 1980sA logger sells a truckload of lumber for 100 His cost of production is 80 What is his profit?Teaching Math in 1990sA logger sells a truckload of lumber for 100 His cost of production is 80 and his profit is 20 What is his profit?Teaching Math in 2000sA logger cuts down a tree The company he works for makes a profit of 20 per tree cut down Now for participation points how do you think the birds and suirrels felt when the logger cut down their homes?Teaching Math in 2010sThank you for showing up Those of you who did will receive an A for today Class dismissedAll in all Andrew Hacker's reputation went into the toilet when he published The Math Myth And Other STEM Delusions which is one of the if not the worst books I've ever read about math

  9. William Nist William Nist says:

    Most of us have never used even a sliver of the High School math that we were taught Most occupations do not reuire it But all students must display a proficiency in Algebra Trig even calculus to graduate from HS and most students who go on to community college end up taking remedial math because they already have forgotten all the maybe knew This book asks if this is really all necessary Should we be reuire to take math that is essentially irrelevant to all but a few Does it cause perfectly good students to give up on HS and college when their talents are elsewhere? Isn't this a real waste of human capital? We bar thousands of people yearly from going to or graduating from college by demanding they learn an arcane subject that will never again come up in their lives This is the author's thesis and he makes a lot of sense He argues for numerical literacy so that we can function at a high level in daily life and only the higher math that is relevant and necessary to become an engineer scientist or mathematician although who know what the hell they actually do etc When I think of all the hours I have spent solving uadratic euations and mastering integral calculus What a waste of time The author btw is a college Professor of Mathematics

  10. Wendi Lau Wendi Lau says:

    Interesting idea that we need less not math or applicable vs theoretical math I like that idea that the things you learn can and should be usable Some good arguments I am curious what a math teacher thinks of this premise Disagree with author's belief that Common Core has higher math standards Whatever its initial intent I have seen Common Core dumb down ambitious challenging curriculum When I read an Algebra 2 common core course description that weighs math essays heavier than problems and states that the right answer is not as important as the explanation I choose not to use that curriculum The right answer always matters in math and as it applies to science The wrong number in engineering and medicine could have severe conseuencesGetting citizens math smart math literate in order to think critically understand measurements statistics and graphs is important More important than higher math for fewer people Good book for thought food

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