I’m a math dummy

May 10th, 2022 by Ken

I admit it.  I’m a math dummy.  I had a difficult time with math in high school and barely passed basic math.  When I entered college, I was forced to take a remedial math course and did enough work to be allowed to continue with my education.

Not knowing math caused me trouble a few years later.   I was working for a small weekly newspaper, when I came across an ad from “The Wall Street Journal”.  They were willing to pay and train a working journalist to become a financial reporter.  They would pay all expenses and a salary for two years of masters study at UCLA.  All I had to do was pass the Graduate Record Exam.

I passed the writing portion at the top of the class.  I barely charted in the math portion.   I didn’t get offered the job.

Other than that, I have had and continue to have – almost no need for math beyond the basic addition, subtraction and division, with a little fractions rolled in.

I’m not alone.  Millions, if not hundred of million, of Americans are not proficient in math.  Because, in most professions math is either not needed, or available with a computer.  Many people will tell you they are math dummies and don’t feel embarrassed to say so.

But, as I’ve said, I am proficient in reading and writing.  If someone were to tell me they were illiterate (meaning not able to read or write) I would feel pity and be embarrassed for them.

Why is is OK to say you’re a math dummy, but not OK to say you can’t read or write well?

It’s simple.

We use language every day in many different ways.  We have to understand language to get along in society.  The same is not true with math.  Basic math is fine for most of us.   Knowing basic language is not enough.

There are many professions that require advanced math skills.  But, most people aren’t in those jobs.

So, why do our schools insist that kids learn Algebra and in some cases – Advanced Algebra.   Wouldn’t it be better for them in the long term to have advance reading and writing skills?

Just asking.


Posted in Informational, The Real News

(comments are closed).