Re “The State’s Invisible Math Standards,” May 3.
David Klein’s [commentary] touched on many issues of interest to potential employers and parents, as well as to educators and the community at large. My personal opinion is that any basic curriculum through high school should include “pencil-interactive” practice in as many numeric relationship phenomena (algorithms, if you will) as possible.
Before experiencing the Northridge earthquake, I understood the difference between a 3.7 Richter scale earthquake and a 6.7 quake from studying logarithmic relationships in second-year high school algebra. In the same class, I learned to use matrices, which I later used to solve logistical problems at my work site. The practice of long division saves me from accepting the errors caused by a calculator’s failing battery and from taking precious time to acquire a replacement unit.
And any kid sent to a grocery store to get a pound-and-a-half of potatoes, with potatoes posted at "$.79 a pound,” really should be able to figure out easily what price candy bar she or he can get (as reward) from a supplied amount of $2 without using a calculator or getting sad news from the cashier at checkout. Extrapolation from this example would show that identifying an available supply of personal funds is an important life skill that might keep many current students / future taxpayers out of bankruptcy.
KRIS ECKLUND, Sun Valley