Here’s where we find ourselves in 2017. Bill Nye, the mechanical engineer and former sketch comic who now presents scientific research on Netflix in the form of song-and-dance routines called “My Sex Junk,” has become the nation’s “science guy.” So even though he’s not an astronomer, Newsweek figured he was the best choice to fill in Americans on the upcoming solar eclipse.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 20, 2017
Oh we're still pretending Bill Nye is a science guy instead of an actor? https://t.co/lsYxK0Xzvr
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) July 20, 2017
Yeah, we’re still doing that. It’s no surprise, either, that the Daily Beast and its mechanical engineer’s guide to the eclipse ended with some political talk, with Nye crying that the “anti-science movement right now, especially the people the administration is hiring, is really remarkable.”
“Anti-science” is about as vague a term as “alt-right,” and people haven’t been shy about throwing that one around lately either. But something just rang a bell when we saw the Daily Wire’s piece on algebra being placed on the chopping block because it’s “a civil rights issue.”
CA Educator: Algebra Is a 'Civil Rights' Issue. Get Rid Of It. https://t.co/w3iT5YLRgf
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) July 20, 2017
Where did that come from? In short, in an interview with NPR, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, said the system was considering dropping algebra as a required course, since so many students are failing it.
Algebra is the most failed course at community colleges across the country. Is it time to nix the requirement? https://t.co/ph3EUP3OSK
— NPR (@NPR) July 19, 2017
This is horrifying, really: NPR reports that, “At American community colleges, 60 percent of those enrolled are required to take at least one math course. Most — nearly 80 percent — never complete that requirement.” (Which reminds us … wasn’t President Obama going to provide every citizen willing to work for it with two free years of community college?)
Add to that the tidbit that rates of failure in algebra are higher for minority groups than they are for white students, and suddenly algebra becomes a civil rights issue, because requiring it essentially keeps students from earning degrees and finding better jobs that require those degrees.
So apparently the “I believe in science” crowd running the community college system consists of the grown-ups who, as kids, complained about having to take math because they’d never use it in real life … and now they’re in a position to do something about it. Something dumb, but something.
isn’t algebra a high school class?
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) July 20, 2017
8th grade a lot of places now.
— JWF (@JammieWF) July 20, 2017
"Our protected education apparatus can no longer teach abstract thinking. Time to stop trying!"#Idiots
— J.G. Petruna (@jgpetruna) July 20, 2017
What? So if we suck at something, let's not do it at all?
— Johnny Le (@johnny0129) July 19, 2017
I'm old enough to remember when "because it's hard" was a reason to work hard and excel rather than to drop it and walk away.
— (((Jeff Goldman))) (@TheJeffGoldman) July 20, 2017
Math is everything. I'm a math prof, & thinking like this hurts me so much. If it's hard, forget it? There goes American exceptionalism.
— Greg Wisloski PhD 🤔 (@wisloski) July 20, 2017
This is what education/society needs: remove anything that's too hard. Sounds like a man who's not meeting his performance quota.
— Paul Jin (@pauljin) July 20, 2017
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade not because it is easy but because it is hard. Oh, wait. It's hard? Well then screw that.
— Dan Lea (@dleaoh) July 20, 2017
Good luck when your kid is responsible for divvying up that pie in the workplace.
— Sandy (@RightGlockMom) July 20, 2017
Seriously, if you guys are bemoaning the lack of science literacy, don't tell people they don't need math.
— Garrett Smith (@gacsmith) July 20, 2017
Tax payer funded J-school morons who don't know algebra is essential to any STEM degree/occupation. Kill funding for @NPR
— (((Ed Moran))) (@EdMahmoud) July 20, 2017
No. There is no such thing as "a math person" or "not a math person." That should be taught on the first day and every day of class.
— Dr. W. Brian Lane (@WBrianLane) July 19, 2017
— Mimamound ☸️ (@mimamound) July 20, 2017
SURE!! Let's do that. Let's go ahead and eliminate everything that's HARD so everyone can have a PhD. It will be Utopia. Guaranteed.
— Bella Marie (@BellaLibertas) July 20, 2017
Gosh if only architects and contractors could do without math.
— Stephanie (@Wrknpoor01) July 20, 2017
No! How is this even a question?!
— Sky McKinley (@SkyMcKinley) July 19, 2017
No no no NO. It just proves that our education system is severely lacking in competence.
— Bri Valentino (@brevolve) July 20, 2017
Couldn't agree more. I learned algebra late in life, but it made a huge impact on my thinking process. Big, noticeable improvement.
— Sam Bordeaux (@Sam__Bordeaux) July 20, 2017
Yeah, it's the subject's fault. And guns shoot people too.
— Ross Kecseg (@rkecseg84) July 20, 2017
This is funny–the left screams "college for all!" yet wants to get rid of algebra?!
Do you see now, not everyone cut out for college??!
— Elizabeth (@fullhousemomma) July 20, 2017
What the hell, NPR?
— Jamil Starkweather (@starkweatherTD) July 20, 2017
Is this satire?
— Sean Farrell (@VolFarrell) July 20, 2017
* * *
Tweeter offers wise alternative to Obama's asinine plan for 'free' community college http://t.co/EwAhEPVrjG
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) January 9, 2015