- The fact is that many successful people couldn’t pass a summative Algebra exam. I wouldn’t give my principal or my superintendent — both smart, successful people — good odds in a fight with a quadratic equation. So why do I teach this stuff?
- This question pounds at me a little harder with this year’s remedial Algebra group which, on an individual student average, has seen more hard time than I have in twice their years. I understand that passing Algebra and (by prerequisite) graduating high school increases one’s earning potential, etc., but what kind of sales pitch is that to a kid who’s raising himself and his sister and who is, at fourteen, a high-functioning alcoholic, who is, right now, feeling pretty proud of himself for just catching the metro line to school. How am I supposed to tell this kid to solve for x? Needless to say, when you’re dealing with a kid who very literally has nothing left to lose, you’ve also gotta rethink your usual set of motivators.