Diane Ravitch Posts Letter from Professor Emeritus James Milgram

September 11, 2013 0 Comments

If there ever was the quintessential math professor, it is Professor James Milgram. He wrote a letter to Diane Ravitch detailing why the Common Core math standards are not adequate for American students. If you take the time to research who James Milgram is, you will realize that his opinion is worth gold. This is why the Common Core developers appointed him to validate the standards. If he said they were good, everyone would be satisfied. Unfortunately for the developers, Milgram has ethics and a devotion to the study and teaching of mathematics and refused to sign off on the standards.

He criticizes the Common Core ending the requirements for “college ready” status at the end of Algebra Two. He doesn’t advocate that all kids should be required to take more than Algebra 2, but “college ready” should mean a student has a good chance of graduating from college. He gave the percentage of college graduates who attained different levels of high school mathematics:

The odds for Geometry were 16.7%, for Algebra II they were 39.3%, 
but for Trigonometry they were 60%, 74.6% for Precalculus, 
and 83.3% for Calculus. So we can estimate that a 
"minimally college ready student" (only completing Algebra 2) 
has a less than 40% chance of completing a college degree. 
Is this really what the National Governor's Association, 
the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the Gates 
and Broad Foundations want for our youth? 

At a conference at Notre Dame, Milgram elaborated on these numbers by showing the percentage of students who graduate with a stem degree completing  Algebra 2 in high school. IT IS ONLY 2.1%. I thought our state of Indiana was focusing on increasing students’ chances of going into STEM paths, not adding barriers.

In testimony presented to the Indiana Study Committee on Common Core, Milgram explained to the legislators that the standards are not as good as our old standards, are not internationally benchmarked, and will not prepare students for college level math coursework. As constituents of these legislators, we must remind them that “we know that they know.” If these legislators make a recommendation to support the Common Core after hearing this information and disregard these FACTS, they should lose their seats.



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