Portrait of a Problem: A Detroit Valedictorian Struggles to Pass Remedial Math at a State University. What's the (Common) Core Issue?



Have you heard of common core math?

It’s the newest way of nailing numbers.

Here’s a fast-motion example, compared to traditional multiplication:


Have you heard of doin’ stuff right? Apparently, some schools haven’t.

Hence, according to Chalkbeat.org, a Detroit high school’s top student is struggling to overcome basic math at Michigan State University.

Marqell McClendon’s havin’ a rough time of it in her remedial math class during her first semester.

And that’s a bit of a surprise, given the fact that she was Cody High School’s valedictorian.

As noted by Chalkbeat, the freshman’s trying everything possible:

She’s scheduled office visits with her professor. She’s asked the teaching assistants for help. She’s dropped into the math learning centers.

But still, despite excelling in her other classes, Marqell McClendon has struggled in the low-level math class she’s taking during her first semester at Michigan State University.

So she’s finding help any way she can — watching educational videos online and, when the work seems impossible, approaching strangers in her dorm and asking them for help.

Marqell isn’t the the only one having problems:

Closer to home, nearly half of graduates from Detroit’s main district who make it to college must take remedial courses. For charter schools in the city, it ranges from 32% to 75%. Taking remedial classes comes with another set of challenges. It can be discouraging, particularly for students used to excelling in high school. But it can also be costly, given the students often are paying for classes that don’t count toward college graduation.

And money matters; ready to pay for seven years of college to snatch that “four year” degree?


Nationally, only 60% of students who enroll at four-year institutions earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. That is the average for all students — the six-year college graduation rate is much lower for black students (40%), Hispanic students (55%), and low-income students (49%).

Math in particular isn’t adding up for a lot of people in general — perhaps partly because it isn’t much being rigidly taught.

Here’s InsideHigherEd.com:

[MSU] has revised its general-education math requirement so that algebra is no longer required of all students. The revision reflects an increasing view on college campuses that there is no one-size-fits-all math curriculum — and that math is often best studied in connection with everyday life.

Under the old requirement, students had to select and complete four math courses — including algebra — from a designated list. They could also waive the requirement by using transfer credits or obtaining a certain score on a proctored exam.

Now, students can fulfill the requirement by taking two quantitative literacy courses that place math in a real-world context.

It appears to be a show of the you-know-what variety (sh**).

I give you The Detroit News:

Michigan State University is dropping a remedial math course that doesn’t count toward an undergraduate degree and covers material that students were supposed to have mastered in high school.

The Lansing State Journal reports the class being eliminated is MTH 1825, which is taught primarily online and intended for students who need extra help before tackling college-level math. New in-person classes will be added with hopes of improving student performance.

The newspaper says nearly 1,000 students took the old course each year and about 21 percent of students who took the class in fall or spring semesters between 2010 and 2017 didn’t pass.


And yet :

“There’s practically no career path today that doesn’t entail some degree of understanding data and being able to quantitatively reason,” [Association of American Colleges and Universities Senior VP for Academic Planning and Public Engagement Debra Humphreys] said. Even simple tasks such as reading a newspaper article on economic policy or managing personal finances require a grasp of quantitative reasoning, she said.

Michael Pearson, executive director of the Mathematical Association of America, echoed this sentiment. “Strong quantitative skills are increasingly important in our data-driven world, both for careers and informing decisions ranging the spectrum from health care to retirement planning,” he wrote in a statement to Inside Higher Ed.

Seems like a lot to fix.

How about we get all that academic stuff figured out before try to work other magic with the educational system? As I’ve mentioned many times, I don’t understand the current idea of “school,” which appears to be an institution dealing with social issues that also happens to offer classes (here).

I think we’d probably do well to return to the old school notion of…old school.

It ain’t likely to happen. The MSU story comes — in the words of The Daily Caller — as “colleges have increasingly rejected objective admissions criteria in the name of “equity.'”

In fact:

[The] University of California (is) poised to no longer require the SAT because of the racial impact it has on admissions.


Sounds like a plan.

Plan = Horrible plan.

Back to common core, here’s Madeline Scotto, a 100-year-old teacher from Brooklyn, layin’ it out:

Amazing Madeline was still teaching at 100. She passed away a year later. To figure out how old she was at that point, you might not wanna use common core; or maybe do — it’ll give me time to bake a lasagna before writing the next article.



Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

Pastor of Liberal Church Gets Fired After She Takes Christian Conference Attendees to Buy Toys – at a Sex Shop

Action Star Promises His Upcoming Movie Will ‘Constantly’ Address Toxic Masculinity

Nike Model Claims Men Can’t Be Women & Loses Her Agent. Her Next Shocker Makes Things Much Worse

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