Friday, July 2, 2010

High School Math Important!

New York Times reports that factories are looking to hire CNC machinists and other craftsmen, but cannot find enough qualified or capable candidates. A pharmaceutical factory in Ohio is looking for 100 candidates who understand ninth-grade level math [Algebra 1], among other basic skills, but found only 47 people qualified out of 3,600 appliants.

That article is a sad indictment on the American primary and secondary education system. It is absolutely criminal that so many of our high school graduates cannot pass an Algebra I test. I can understand how some people might have problems with high school Geometry, since it involves some visualization ability, but Algebra 1 is just not that difficult conceptually. All Alg 1 requires is hard work: checking your answers, doing out every step instead of skipping around, etc. Some people might not like math; that's ok, I'm not a poetry afficionado myself, so we're even on that score. But everyone [who can graduate high school] should pass high school math. [Even though passing is such a low standard.]

Speaking of those CNC machinists, I read about CNC machining in my high school econ class, back in the mid-90s. [A laid-off automobile assembly line worker found a rewarding job as a CNC machinist.] So it's been at least 15 years that we know computer-numerical-control machining is a hot field. Yet we're still having problems filling CNC vacancies? That should be enough grounds for firing every community college presidents within 100 miles of a factory!

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