Adjusting state’s math curriculum

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A Republican representative passed a bill in the House which could affect your high schooler’s math requirement for graduation.

Representative Mike Murphy of Springfield said he wrote the bill after hearing the concerns of one principal. Currently students have to take three years of math before getting their high school diploma.

Pleasant Plains High principal Luke Brooks said he does not want to dumb down the subject. He wants to make sure more opportunities are available for students.

“Whether you want to hear it or not, algebra is the number one most failed courses, generally speaking, in high schools and the number one most failed course in community colleges.” Brooks said.

After taking to Murphy about his concerns, Murphy wrote a bill allowing the state’s third year advanced math requirement to be fulfilled by a course which applies math to every day life.

“They said they want to be a farmer or welder and they could not see where this math would be applied to them. This is going to give them an opportunity which is needed to get that high school diploma,” Murphy said.

“A kid that wants to get into pipefitting or electricity, there is definitely really good math involved in that and our teachers know how to convert that into very good practical lessons. It’s just that you get caught in going in a very traditional curriculum and I would like to offer some other choices for them,” said Brooks.

Brooks said if the bill becomes law, it will open the door to many possibilities. He hopes to see geometry and algebra applied to topics beyond trades in the future.

“Maybe people will open their minds up to financial literacy and personal finance and budgets. How many people would be better off understanding how a state and federal budget work? Applied mathematics, you know? Life math.”

Brooks and Murphy agree the bill will not take advanced courses away from students, but simply add more options to apply math to real life. The bill is in the Senate after unanimously passing the House last week.

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