Monday, October 18, 2010

Radical equations Robert Moses

Moses Robert, (2007) Radical Equations.
Chapter 1, Algebra and Civil Rights.

This article is written by a peace activist who makes the argument that the most urgent social issue affecting the poor and people of color today is economic access. This access to economics is largely based on math and science literacy.
The author’s project titled the “Algebra Project” is designed to equal the playing field for those previously denied access.

The author brings the analogy of slave labor with the invention of the cotton gin. He argues that at the birth of the cotton gin black labor became unneeded for the harvest of cotton. Similarly, the factories that were economic powerhouses for this country are now being shipped overseas due to cheaper labor and cost of materials. As the need for cotton pickers had diminished, and the need for assembly line workers diminished, the need for “knowledge workers” grew.

The article brings out a few good points such that “sixty percent of new jobs will require skills possessed by only 22 percent of the young people entering the job market now.” The author states that “the most important factor affecting the long term production of scientists is the tragic inadequacy of our primary and secondary science and mathematics education.“

One alarming statistic of the article “A young man born this year has a one in twenty chance of living some part of his life in jail…unless he is Black, then the chance jumps to one in four.”

The article talked very little about the mathematics needed to take us into the next few decades. It offers no suggestions as to how math should be taught or how it is going to be necessary for students to learn. I do believe that mathematics is the great equalizer, but this article left me with the feeling that math is just a tool needed to do exciting things later on. I feel that this is part of the problem as to why students are failing to understand math in the first place. Math can be taught in a way that is exciting, interesting, and have lasting impacts. This article is great if you have young activists in the classroom who want to be motivated, but leaves me with a feeling of wanting more.

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