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[Susan notes: On his website, Krashen points out: "I love math. I took AP calculus in high school, and advanced calculus and differential equations in college. But I took these courses as electives."

Such an important point. Higher math should remain elective courses, as should survey courses in English and American literature. ]

Published in Washington Post

To the editor

Maryland will now require all high school students to take four years of math [ Heading off the 'senior slump', Metro, May 3]. The fourth year, moreover, must be a course that employs "non-trivial algebra," such as Algebra 2, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, statistics or college algebra. This is meant to prevent students from "getting rusty" and arriving at college unprepared.

But not all students go to college. And few of those who do select majors that require this much math. After college, few jobs require this much math. Michael Handel of Northeastern University has reported that only 22 percent of workers use math beyond fractions, decimals and percentages, and of those who do, most use only simple algebra. Requiring four years of math makes about as much sense as requiring four years of Latin.

Stephen Krashen

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