Math ends the education careers of thousands of community college students. A few schools are trying something new

It’s 7:15 on a cold gray Monday morning in May at Linn-Benton Community College in northwestern Oregon. Math professor Michael Lopez, in a hoodie and jeans, a tape measure on his belt, paces in front of the 14 students in his “math for welders” class. “I’m your OSHA inspector,” he says. “Three sixteenths of an inch difference, you’re in violation. You’re going to get a fine.”

He’s just given them a project they might have to do on the job: figure out the rung spacing on an external steel ladder that attaches to a wall. Thousands of dollars are at stake in such builds, and they’re complicated: Some clients want the fewest possible rungs to save money, others a specific distance between steps. To pass inspection, rungs must be evenly spaced to within one sixteenth of an inch, the top rung exactly flush with the top of the wall.

Read more from The Hechinger Report.


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