Thursday, October 05, 2006

add it up

Over the past few decades there has been a severe decline in academic achievement in the children that have been matriculating through both our private and public school systems. This is consistent for all academic disciplines including reading, science and math. However it is math, and the curious disdain that we have for this subject in particular, that I would like to discuss.

A recent report released by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) has documented what we have been seeing occur all along — American students are poor at mathematics. The study was conducted over a three-year period and concluded that the United States ranked 24th out of 29 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. As a state, Georgia also ranks among the lowest in average SAT score (1477) at 46 out of 50 states and remains last among all states in math.

Without math there would be no money, no calendars, nothing. Students from Finland and South Korea were the top scorers on the survey. We need to have a true understanding of the importance of learning information. Math, specifically. Sure you won’t be asked to do axiomatic set theory in the workplace (albeit I do, with regards to some forms of regression analysis). But it is still nice to know.

One day, you won’t have the skill set to make the batteries that go into the calculators we will use to do our adding, subtracting and division. What then? Oh, my fault, math is stupid and we hate it.

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