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A Few More Reasons "Why Must I Learn Math?"

I’m increasingly conscious of the gap between the urgent calls for more effective math education in the U.S., and the seemingly low expectations some parents have for their own child to advance in math. It’s as if the pressing national need has nothing to do with us on a personal level. I hear parents talk about their child’s math performance, and say things like “I was never good in math either.” Or regarding newer ways of teaching math, I’ve heard “I don’t like the ‘new math’ because I wasn’t taught that way.”

I’ve written in this blog before about my own math education – although my father was an engineer I didn’t do well in math in school, and there have been times I’ve struggled to help my son with math homework because I had to first figure out the way it was being taught. It took me longer to see that math is problem solving, and to believe that I could be good at it.

So I wanted to pass along a link to a site, published by a math teacher named Mark Karadimos, called MathGuideand in particular the page on “Why Must I Learn Math?” For parents who bring the same kind of baggage to the subject that I do, this is a very educational read. Because today, it’s not just the traditional math and science careers that require mathematicsnot just astronauts and scientists and engineersevery profession needs math.

Kids Need to Build Math Skills for All Professions

I’m more aware of this than ever because I’m working on a short documentary-style video for DreamBox where we interviewed more than 50 children, asking them what they want to be when they grow up. As part of this project I’ve been researching how an amazing range of careersfrom beauticians to farmers to paleontologists, rock stars, and zoologistsall need math in their jobs!

And if you still have any doubt about why it’s important to overcome our own negative math education experiences, read the National Math Panel report to learn more about the importance of math in terms of access to college, career choices, and earning potential! You’ll find it, along with other parent resources, at the U.S. Dept. of Education site.

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