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Are We Bad At Math? | Paradise Found

Are We Bad At Math?

I just ran across an article on MSNBC, Why American consumers can’t add. It’s worth a read. It certainly inspires me to make sure my kids are covering the bases of the basics.

Check this out:

*Only 42 percent were able to pick out two items on a menu, add them, and calculate a tip.

*Only 1 in 5 could reliably calculate mortgage interest.

*1 in 5 could not calculate weekly salary when told an hourly pay rate.

*Half of 17 year olds couldn’t do enough math to work in an auto plant, according to President’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel.

The author even touches on the education and requirements of teachers in the public school system:

*In 18 U.S. states, not even one elementary math class is required for certification.

*Some teaching colleges allow admittance as long as students have math skills equal to their future students — that is, as long as they could pass a 5th grade math test.

*It’s possible in some states to pass the teacher certification exam (Praxis) without answering a single math question correctly.

Interesting, yes?


  1. by Meg, on December 30 2009 @ 6:02 am


    Given the observations I’ve seen while subbing, I’m interested in this.

  2. by Teresa, on December 31 2009 @ 7:02 am


    Even 20+ yrs ago, it was kind of bad. I used to have my locker in the education bldg when I was going to university, and one time, I was in the bathroom where 2 ed major girls were talking about a test they had. One of them said, and I kid you not, “fractions are so hard!” Ugh.

    Fortunately, both my kids are already tons better at basic and mental math than I am (we spend our lunch hours watching math DVDs from the Learning Company).

  3. by Math skills revisited « Get In, Hang On – Take 2, on December 31 2009 @ 8:09 am


    [...] Kris posted a link to a discussion of our national math skills. And it just supports that what I was [...]

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