Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


[Susan notes: I'm surprised they published my letter. The opinion piece I was complaining about was written by the paper's editor. Gerald Bracey's wisdom lives on.]

Published in Burlington Free Press
08/14/2013

To the editor

'Malevolent tyranny of algebra'



The only thing the writer makes clear in Voice of the Free Press: Expect more from students(Aug. 8) is that an ardor for algebra does not help in understanding what standardized testing is all about.



Standardized testing is a political tool. The âprogress measurements,â required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the editorial writer refers to stipulate that 100 percent of students must meet the standard. This means every school in the country will fail: No excuses for the students who have learning difficulties or the immigrant students who have not yet learned English.



Vermont is much further from this federal definition of failure than most states. We are tied for second place in the nation on 8th grade math scores. Those same 8th graders are tied for first place in reading.



Although the governor and the Burlington Free Press are captivated by the Lorelei lure of the algebra myth, theyâd do well to read the eminent education researcher and debunker of flimflam Gerald Bracey, described by the Washington Post as âone of the most erudite, prolific and acidic critics of national education policy.â Bracey wrote about âthe algebra hoaxâ and âthe malevolent tyranny of algebra,â pointing out that algebra has no value for most people.



If your goal is to raise scores on standardized tests, lobbying for a living wage for all will be much more effective than telling kids and teachers to work harder.

Susan Ohanian


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.