To the Editor: Re “Is Algebra Necessary?,” by Andrew Hacker (Sunday Review, July 29):
A time-tested mathematics program, introducing the basic elements of math (including algebra), is essential for any proper education. These courses allow society to identify our future STEM candidates (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
I had this experience when I taught high school math in the 1960s. I identified numerous gems among students who were seen as marginal, and if not for their exceptional performance in the traditional program might have never been discovered.
The traditional mathematics program gets a bad rap, largely because it is taught by elementary school teachers who have often been shown not to love the subject — which may be reflected in their teaching — and secondary school teachers who are “forced” to teach to the test, preventing them from making the subject appropriately exciting.
Let’s give math the proper platform it deserves!
ALFRED S. POSAMENTIER
Los Angeles, July 30, 2012
The writer is dean of the School of Education at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.