Are Schools Dropping the Ball on Math?

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Early this spring, there was a lot of talk over a certain math problem going around the internet. According to Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, it went something like this:

“What is the sum of the three consecutive whole numbers with 2n as the middle number?

A. 6n+3

B. 6n

C. 6n-1

D. 6n-3”

Kristof reported that while approximately 75% of South Korean 8th graders could answer the question, less than 40% of American students were successful. Kristof’s conclusion?

“We know Johnny can’t read; it appears that Johnny is even worse at counting.

The Educational Testing Service released a global report finding that young adults from the United States rank poorly in reading but are even worse in math — the worst of all countries tested. This is the generation that will be in the labor force for the next half-century, struggling to compete with citizens of other countries.

That last point is a tough one which we need to honestly look in the face. If our children and grandchildren progress through elementary, middle, and high school without being presented with a reading or math curriculum which challenges and guides them to a higher level of thinking and reasoning, then what will their futures look like? Chances are they won’t be living the prosperous, relatively stable life which we want them to have.

If you sense your child is not getting the education he needs to succeed in the future, then take him aside, begin to supplement his education, and learn alongside of him.

Moms, don’t underestimate yourselves. You are the best teachers your children will ever have.

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