Kara Briggs: Getting back to high school math
"Ronald Reagan was president when I graduated from college.

Don’t you dare calculate how long ago that was!

It’s just an example of the kind of equation I am grappling now that I’m midway through my master’s degree, I find myself busted back to high school math.

I’ve avoided mathematics since before I could legally drive a car. My collegiate liberal arts education gave me a broad-based love of literature and letters, language and culture, politics and journalism. But it also let me squeak by the ordering systems of mathematics with very little, very light science classes.

In my twice-weekly math lab at the Tulalip campus of Northwest Indian College, many of my colleagues are returning to school to get them ready for careers in the new economy. For most in this lab, algebra, geometry and the like are requirements to move on with a different field of study.

In some ways we may be working through the stages of grief: denial, anger. … acceptance. I hear it when a treaty-fisherman wonders out loud why he needs to know algebra when he can calculate cash per pound of salmon in his head. I don’t disagree, even though I keep my eyes focused on my textbook."

Get the Story:
Kara Briggs: Busted back to high school math (Indian Country Today 5/8)

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