As a business teacher for 32 years, I heard from many high school graduates about how much their learned skills in our classes helped to prepare them for the work place. One told me that he found much more use from his typing class “finding x” than he ever did trying to “find the value of x” in his algebra classes. Of course, we business teachers knew this all along! After all, the graduation rate of students who enter college is below 20 percent. That’s one in five — and yet, the secondary curriculum focuses on preparation of students “for college” — rather than for the “work place.” Why? Even the students who attend and graduate from college will enter the work place at some point — many need to “be in the work place” as they attend classes in college to pay their way.
As a retiree, I now can sit back without knots in my stomach as the school administrators change their focus or the direction of monies away from career-based instruction. It is my hope that before our grandchildren get to the secondary level, the school system will allow them opportunities to take classes that not only prepare them for college (if they choose that route), but also to enroll in classes that give them saleable skills.
I will make this positive remark regarding “finding x” in math classes. As a beginning quilter, I am finding more and more use for math skills — just yesterday I used a compass to create an equilateral triangle.
Oh, and one more thing completely off the subject — unless you consider “x” as a chromosone — hooray for the passing of Proposition 2 in Texas!