# VOICES

My daughter is a published playwright and a finalist in a New York festival. After being accepted by a college theater program, she was denied entry because of her poor math scores.

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I’m one of those people who faced the brick wall of algebra during my aborted attempt at a bachelor’s degree. I now write, produce, and direct TV programs and have won an Emmy award. Without a grasp of algebra, I still manage to keep tidy books for my production business.

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A student of mine’s only desire was to become a sports writer. He must have taken algebra at least five times. To deny him to the world of journalism because of algebra has to be some kind of foolishness.

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My son’s college career ended because of algebra. He is now an accomplished photographer. But the fact that he is the only one in our family without a degree continues to haunt him.

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I’m still steaming that an algebra requirement prevented me from taking a high school seminar in American history.

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As a university-level biologist, I have never had occasion to prove that two triangles are congruent. We were told that if we could think logically about triangles, we could think logically about all sorts of things. What nonsense!

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In my 40 years as a math educator, I have seen too many capable people crippled by this algebra curse, We are losing too many students to the gatekeepers who push algebra as some kind of miracle drug for success in life.

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I have worked in a technical capacity at Texas Instruments and Honeywell, and have been awarded two patents. I have never had to solve a calculus problem or a quadratic equation.

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It was algebra that made me drop out and join the U.S. Marines. I went to artillery school, as a fire-directon controller. Pinpoint accuracy was our stock in trade. Since then I have spoken at high school classes about my experience. I start by telling them it was because of failing algebra that I joined the Marines.

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I have a CPA certificate. To this day, I have no ideas what trigonometry is useful for. Another example is that business schools require calculus. Never used again.

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The argument that algebra is the only way to produce a critical thinker troubles me. As a social studies and literature teacher, I would like to believe that these courses do their part as well.

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I was a horrible algebra student. The only benefit from having to take the course was getting this cute guy to tutor me. I still failed, but this year he and I will celebrate our 45th anniversary.

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