Advanced Math, A High School Necessity

Education Week had a forum post, “Do We Really Need Advanced Math Classes As Required Subjects?”, where it was questioned by Ninja Nixon, if “subjects like Calculus, Trigonometry, etc. should be required for students to get a high school diploma or a college degree?” Good Question!

As a parent and PTA leader, I vehemently support strong Mathematics and Science requirements.  I believe in the helpfulness of having a strong background that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) with an appreciation for the arts as well.  In Chicago’s Calumet High School, I was in a Principal Scholar’s Program that promoted having Math and Science every year! I love Math but I don’t know if I would have realized how wonderful that was if it weren’t thrust upon me, even though the program was optional.  It promoted the Engineering fields.  I obtained a Computer Management degree and was a Computer Programmer for the IBM Corporation.

With great teachers like Mr. Daniel Mussa, Mr. Fackler, et. al. I wished that our school had offered even more advanced courses!  A couple of Calumet students additionally went to a different school to take Calculus, but I didn’t learn about that in time.  In college, I also saw some students having to take remedial math courses just to get to their college requirements, which is a big trend now.

I attended NBC’s Education Nation’s Job One summit in Chicago, 2011 where the City  Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman observed that almost 90% of their degree seeking students required remedial courses. The Alliance for Excellent Education, a policy group based in Washington D. C. sites that more than one-third of higher education students require remediation.  “The Alliance report estimated that during the 2007-2008 school year, remediation nationally cost $5.6 billion, $2 billion of that in lost wages because remedial students are more likely not to graduate. In Illinois, the group put the remediation cost at $155 million for 2007-2008,” commented the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to, taking advanced math classes in high school is one of the single best indicators of whether a student will graduate from college– a better indicator than family background. Students going beyond Algebra II have twice the likelihood of completing a bachelor’s degree.  At least half of those surveyed, wish they had taken more challenging Math.  I’m apprehensive that if some of these advanced courses aren’t required, that those classes will not be selected.  Children sometimes choose what appears to be easier or more popular and don’t regret choices until later in life when career choices are narrowed due to their lack of preparation.  For ideas on getting youth and females more “into” math earlier, read my article, “Doing the Math.”

Brenda Martin, Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress Kentucky Delegate (2011), pictured with Illinois Mom Congress Delegates Kim Kuhlman (2011) and Jennifer DeFranco (2010) at NBC’s Education Nation’s Job One in Chicago.

About Bren Martin

Brenda is an education advocate and has been an active leader in the schools, church and community. She is a National PTA Social Media Ambassador and was a Panelist on NBC's Education Nation in New York City, "Stepping Up: The Power of a Parent Advocate," for Parenting Magazine. Brenda was honored by the U. S. Department of Education and the White House as a “Champion of Change” for educational advocacy. She is Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress-Kentucky delegate and a recipient of Knowledge Universe-KinderCare’s Education Achievement Award! (See Parenting Magazine’s, “The Power and Potential of Parent Advocates,“ and one of Brenda’s articles, “Changing Us, Changes Them.“) Some of her services include: District PTA President and State PTA Board; Education Commissioner's Steering Committee for Teacher Effectiveness. She is a former regional President, Gifted Education; Summer Camp Creator/Director; Church Youth Director; Vacation Bible School Director; Prichard Committee’s Commonwealth of Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL) Fellow; School Based Decision Making; Employability Skills Consultant to prison & colleges; Television Special host and more. Also, Follow Brenda on Twitter @bdrumartin. Disclaimer: Use sites, blogs, information or links at your own risk.
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2 Responses to Advanced Math, A High School Necessity

  1. Pingback: THE EDUCATION REVOLUTION IS BEING TELEVISED | Debate and Switch's Blog

  2. Pingback: Jobs Require More Education, Training | Debate and Switch's Blog

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