Hi Philip,

Thank you so much for sharing this important perspective - you make a great point.

Indeed, most serious research nowadays can only be done through a professional computational platform. Long gone are the times when someone like Tycho Brache was needed to gather accurate data or someone like Johannes Kepler could only analyze the data. Using numerical approximations, CAS can plot, integrate, and carry out any computations. Yet, we will always need professionals who know and can implement the basic procedures, program the computational devices, supervise the codes, and take them further. In that sense, it may make a difference if we keep providing opportunities for students to get the basic formal foundation in time so that they can succeed in STEM, should they wish to do so.

Sometimes, I wonder if the trend of reduced exposure to formal math (or science), along with misinformation through some online sources, correlates with a lessened appreciation for science or the propagation of non-scientific viewpoints (all of these are also happening across the world). It would be interesting to know the effect of these things on a more global scale, e.g., sociopolitical and economic impact.

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Violeta Kovacev-Nikolic

Full time faculty

College of the Canyons

Santa Clarita CA

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Original Message:

Sent: 11-05-2023 13:13:20

From: Philip Mahler

Subject: What do colleagues think?

Some disconnected thoughts that it would take pages, and hours, to defend. My main point: I am not bothered by states looking at how we teach mathematics. My only regret is that the push comes from outside of the community of math educators, not from within.

A quote from the Internet: "About 86 percent of jobs require simple addition and subtraction, but only 5 percent of jobs required calculus." Math educators tend to focus on algebra and STEM, but less than one in five students ever take calculus. So how much algebra did those four out of five need? (A bit, to understand formulas and graphs, yes.) And how soon did they need it? Not directly related but algebra skills may be less in demand in the future. Computer algebra systems (CAS) can do all the algebra we work so hard to teach; they can always find an antiderivative if one exists, but a human being cannot. I have heard of university professors who teach calculus using a CAS. (I did say disconnected...)

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Philip Mahler

RETIRED

MA

Original Message:

Sent: 10-16-2023 04:31:03

From: Violeta Kovacev-Nikolic

Subject: What do colleagues think?

Dear All,

I wonder how you feel about the following: "California has new ideas about how to teach math, but critics argue it won't work." It brings up some relevant points and links to this article: "California's Math Misadventure is About to Go National." Both are important to read. I spend sleepless nights improving course materials to provide as much support as possible, including tending to the affective domain. As I shared with my colleagues (in response to an email that defended the changes in how we teach math), a dedicated, responsible, caring educator does everything necessary to support and ensure students gain the required knowledge and skills. However, it takes some serious time and effort to get to a certain level and eventually become a professional in STEM. These future experts will build roads and structures or design satellites, vehicles, and airplanes; they will develop new technology and discover rules that will lead to gadgets in medicine and other areas of human endeavor.

By taking away the opportunity for students to learn algebra and gain the needed tools, we are undermining STEM; if it happens across the nation, then it is a very serious process, something that has the potential of dismantling the very basis of future domestic generations becoming experts in science and technology – and that, to put it mildly, is not a good thing.

Thanks,

Violeta

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Violeta Kovacev-Nikolic

Full time faculty

College of the Canyons

Santa Clarita CA

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