“This needs to begin early in the student’s life and continue through college,” Younghans said. “Colleges also need to have realistic expectations about what math skills students need. I am not certain why a social worker needs to be able to pass college calculus. Engineers and physicists need a huge depth and breadth of math. In other words...not every kid or career has to have the same math skill set.”
Highly qualified and effective math teachers make all the difference, Allen added.
“Math can be fun,” Woodworth said. “But it has to be the correct level or type of math that each student needs for his/her next step in life.”
Tom Holtzinger taught math for 38 years with Goshen Community Schools. In his opinion, colleges nowadays have some unrealistic expectations.
“Colleges and universities are admitting more and more students and have lowered their standards,” Holtzinger said. “They’re almost willing to admit anyone and should raise their standards. Not everybody should be going to college anyway. There needs to be more encouragement for those going to vocational or trade schools.”
The former teacher says testing programs are “somewhat to blame” and the need for students to achieve high SAT scores.
“How much more can you expect students to do?” he asked.
Holtzinger says there’s a need for less politics in finding answers to the math problem.
“Politicians are looking for a short-term solution,” he said. “We need to get everybody on board and get on the same page. Parents and students need to be willing to work. We have too many kids who could (not) care less. ”