Letters to the Editor

Education: Schools failing at teaching math

So Tacoma schools earn “good marks for graduation” (editorial, 12-15).

Maybe so, but our area high schools are turning out math illiterates. My wife, a college math instructor, teaches high school graduates who have no concept of math. Individual students often can’t solve such simple problems as 8 minus 3 and 12 divided by 6. I’m not joking.

At a recent meeting with local high school math teachers, she was informed that students can retake a test until they attain an acceptable score. How nice! Her students who are failing or making a D often inform her that they were A students in high school math. Her fellow instructors relate similar encounters.

She informs her students that unlike in high school, in college you are allowed to fail; the responsibility for homework, classwork, attendance and tests are theirs.

So high school graduation rates are rising. Big deal. Why is it that the well-paying trades requiring simple math skills (tests required) have trouble finding qualified apprentices?

Let’s start putting solid math requirements in for graduation and stop allowing excuses from students, parents, instructors, schools or school districts.