Trigonometry at Cal State Northridge

So I have a student in trigonometry at my favorite fine university (ugh), the one I graduated from, California State University, Northridge.  And not only does he have a teacher who is straight off the boat from China, but they sold him a book that was “custom made” for CSUN students.

Now let’s take a second to think this through: trigonometry is no subjective subject, only to be processed one way by students from one school and a different way by students at another one.  It is a common knowledge subject–you either have the common knowledge, or you don’t.  So basically what CSUN is doing is offering a book at a higher price, claiming it is more effective for their students than some other book which is more effective for every other school’s students, a claim that can be assumed to be dubious at best.  It’s just plainly stupid salesmanship.

With this book they’ve sold him a special CSUN-trig workbook and a computer program for another $100.

Now here’s the thing: if this book is so special, don’t you think it would teach the unit circle in chapter 1?  Because really, the problem most students have with trig is that they aren’t taught the unit circle properly, and trying to go through trig without completely mastering the unit circle is like trying to go through American History without knowing about Federalism and who George Washington was.  It’s simply not feasible.

Well, well, of course!  High prices for a subpar product–typical university behavior.  This book does not get to the unit circle until chapter THREE.  And in the mean time they ask all sorts of questions about 60 and 135 and 210 degree angles, all of which are right on the unit circle–so they ask students to do something without giving them the tools with which to do it.  (Nor, for that matter, have they taught the students to convert degrees into radians.)

Basically the student has stopped showing up for class–he’s not getting anything out of it–and is using me as his teacher.  Which is the right thing to do because of how the class is being run.

If you still do not get that the universities way overcharge you and leave you less than prepared, and that I am the only real alternative out there right now, I don’t know what to tell you.  Ditto (minus the overcharge for public schools) for high schools.  We are in the midst of an educational crisis that will bring this country to its knees within a generation if not corrected for immediately.  So I once again ask that you place a phone call to me, (310) 592-5681.  It is for your own good as much as mine.

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