Al Melvin challenges UA Math Department Chair on math, fails miserably

I have to admit, there are few times when I read the newspaper and literally LOL, especially when it comes to education in Arizona.

This week is special, however, and State Senator Al Melvin is simply a gem of material, probably left behind from the Gem & Mineral Show after being mistaken for being a dull boring rock.

In yesterday’s Arizona Daily Star, we have the well-renowned Department Chair of Mathematics, the Harvard-educated and mathematical bad-ass Dr. William McCallum who wrote:

As lead author of the Common Core math standards, I was relieved not to be accused of peddling pornography in Sen. Al Melvin’s statement about the math standards. But I feel obliged to point out to him that using letters to stand for numbers is not, as he says, “fuzzy math,” but rather “algebra.” In fact, it’s pretty much the whole point of algebra, a subject that has served humanity, including Al Melvin, pretty well for the last 1,000 years.

William McCallum
Professor of mathematics, Tucson

via Letters to the editor.

I could not believe such nonsense would spew from the mouth of an elected official from Southern Arizona, a darling of the TEA Party and Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Indeed it did. Here is the excerpt:

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, who championed SB 1310, said he believes the concept of some nationally recognized standards started out as a “pretty admirable pursuit by the private sector and governors.”

“It got hijacked by Washington, by the federal government,” said Melvin, a candidate for governor, and “as a conservative Reagan Republican I’m suspect about the U.S. Department of Education in general, but also any standards that are coming out of that department.”

Melvin’s comments led Sen. David Bradley, D-Tucson, to ask him whether he’s actually read the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by 45 states.

“I’ve been exposed to them,” Melvin responded.

Pressed by Bradley for specifics, Melvin said he understands “some of the reading material is borderline pornographic.” And he said the program uses “fuzzy math,” substituting letters for numbers in some examples.

Can you believe that some people would substitute letters for numbers. If God wanted numbers to be letters, he would have made them as such?

Speaking of borderline pornographic, I suggest Al Melvin take another look at his Good Book and perhaps read about Lot and how he impregnated his two daughters after they got him drunk, or King David and Bathsheba.

Thank you Al Melvin for the great laugh that brought tears to my eyes. Now, however the tears of laughter turn into tears of sadness as I realize that your party runs this state, and the legislature is actually passing your bills…

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