# By the Numbers: Math Anathema

The experts (and most kids) declare U.S. math education "broken."

May 23, 2008

Eighty-four percent of kids would rather take out the trash, clean their rooms, or go to the dentist than do their math homework.

One complaint: Math textbooks cover too many topics without enough depth.

The finding by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel declared math education in the United States "broken" and called on schools to focus on teaching fundamental math skills that provide the underpinning for success in high tech jobs.

The panel said that students must be able to add and subtract whole numbers by the end of third grade and be skilled at adding and subtracting fractions and decimals by the end of fifth grade.

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"By the Numbers: Math Anathema" mentions an important issue, but it is a summary of an article, not an article. Unfortunately this two-sentence summary posing as an article, complete with glitzy enlargeable image and alluring come-on from your main page precisely echoes the problem of the mile-wide and inch-deep math curriculum, padded with all the color photos and test-prep practice of the current leading textbooks but with so little inherently interesting or thought-provoking mathematics.

If we had changed over to the decimal system like the leaders had said we would way back in the '50s, we wouldn't need to clutter up the curriculum with fractions or learning both the standard AND metric systems and equivalents!

I think you mean "metric", not decimal, system. You still need to know fractions, even with the metric system. Would you rather have us lose the knowledge of fractions? Fractions are very useful. And the metric system is definitely used in Science class.

Los Angeles, CA

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