Saturday, September 24, 2011


The road block to most people in their education, the thing that separates the sheep from the goats, is algebra. This was announced to my seventh grade glass by my first male math teacher, Mr. Goldberg. He had a beard and being in his class definitely made you feel grown up, if terrified. I struggled through the class, got a D at one point, but went on to redeem myself in the end with a  B. After seventh grade algebra I went on to eighth grade algebra, a breeze. I followed that with geometry and trig. When I graduated from school and was selling hot dogs at Two Guys, I had the satisfaction of knowing I had passed algebra.

To the unsuspecting seventh grader who is given the class schedule in September lies that nasty word, "algebra".  It is the one hurdle that will stand between happiness and misery, success and failure in school. Algebra. It re-emerges in community college, like a bad penny. There it is, the requirement to taking statistics. It isn't just the science majors. You must complete algebra first to be a social worker.

Why is there a shortage of nurses in the United States? Nurses have to show that they've passed algebra. Why does America have a shortage of high tech manufacturing workers? Algebra. Why does your doctor have a weird accent? Americans are limited with their algebra so we have to import doctors from overseas.

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