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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen's fine letter reminds us that people oppose the Common Core for very different reasons. some of us hold firm to the tenet that there is no curriculum that should be required of ALL students.]

Published in Wall Street Journal
01/09/2014

To the editor


Maybe We Should Stem the Panic and Consider Needs

Re: Common Core Doesn't Add Up to STEM Success

Ms. Stotsky thinks that all high-school students should be required to take trigonometry and precalculus to be ready for the brave new world of science, technology, engineering and math.
Even if the STEM crisis were real, this is not a good idea. Of course, advanced math classes should be offered, but there is no reason to require them of everybody. Michael Handel of Northeastern University has concluded that only about 10% of the workforce uses math beyond algebra II.

Also, it is not clear that the crisis is real. It is not clear that there is a compelling need for more STEM workers. Some studies conclude that there are too many qualified candidates. Rutgers University professor Hal Salzman has reported that there are approximately three qualified graduates annually for each science or technology opening, and recent studies have also shown that the U.S. is producing more Ph.D.s in science than the market can absorb.

Stephen Krashen


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