Middle-school math and the graduation gap

On Community College SpotlightCollege math starts in middle school. To prevent the need for remedial classes five or six years from now,  Foothill College is working with middle-school math teachers to get students on track.

Also, the Education Trust looks at the graduation gap for black and Hispanic college students. At some colleges and universities, the difference is huge; at others, the gap is gone.

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  1. Perhaps the teachers will enjoy teaching math more as well. Understanding the ‘why’ is so much more interesting than just going through the motions. No wonder kids are bored with this one-dimensional approach!

  2. Middle school is too late. The kids who are struggling in middle school are the ones who did not learn the basics in their elementary classes. Unless children actually understand the basic operations and have basic arithmetic to automaticity, middle school will be a large amount of work for a small amount of benefit.

  3. Absolutely, middle school is too late. Also, curriculum is a big issue, since some of the popular ES and MS ones(Everyday Math, Trailblazers, TERC etc) are inherently flawed. They do not require mastery of each step before advancing and they do not teach standard algorithms. There is a LOT of tutoring – both parental and paid – being done and the schools are carefully not asking why or how much. Many of the kids who are really ready for 8th-grade algebra are ready in spite of the school, not because of it. Kumon thrives for a reason and some school districts allow their ES-MS teachers to tutor their own students for pay; a huge conflict of interest, at best.


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