The Need For Calculus



In response to Mr. Clayton (“Calculus and college” 10/29/13 and “Calculus issue moot” 1/17/14): I happen to have a student, my daughter, who has the grades, takes challenging courses and her “dream” schools are MIT and Vanderbilt. She will have to compete with students from across the country and world to receive an acceptance letter, but without some key courses, she may not be able to have a high school transcript that is comparable. The only reason being the courses may not be offered.

Colleges weigh class content, not just “grades” when looking at transcripts.

She is not a slacker, she has taken summer school two summers in a row, not because she had to, but because she wanted to be able to take a two-hour computer class at PHS. Oh yeah, she also took a zero hour Spanish class (which we paid for) so she could take choir, a class she loves, and was willing to do the extra work in order to take the classes she wants. She had to leave engineering after two years because there just weren’t enough school hours in the day.

My daughter doesn’t have to take calculus and AP physics; she wants to in order to compete with students across the country. Maybe our Payson students are not as prepared (due to lack of class offerings) as other students when they enter college, therefore making it very challenging to complete work in the same classroom as well-prepared students.

I beg to differ about your statement that “Calculus is not regularly required for college and it is not required for a bachelor’s degree, which 90 percent of the students in the district will receive if they graduate.” My research shows that because its use is widespread in fields like science, economics and engineering, many college majors require calculus to complete a degree. Sorry, but 90 percent of students earning a bachelor’s degree and not needing calculus excludes the other 10 percent — and they count too!

Susan M Launder-Becker


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