Thursday, July 21, 2005

A lot of math stories today

Congress has been looking into the fact that we are not producing a lot of female and minority students looking into Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) disciplines. Danica McKellar has some good things to say:

I believe the problems with under-representation of women in SET (Science, Engineering, and Technology) fields boils down to two fundamental issues, which actually effect the majority of students in all demographics, and which start in elementary and middle school.

Students are not prepared for SET careers, and Students are not even interested in SET careers.

These are big problems. If your children have little background in mathematics then they will not be able to understand what is being talked about, and if they don't understand then they are not going to be interested in that kind of career.

An example of how bad this is getting is shown by how many students get to college and have to take remedial math.
Figures show that 44 percent of the Aberdeen Central High School graduates in the class of 2003 who went to state-run universities in South Dakota had to take remedial math when they got to college.

"That's high, and it worries the heck out of me," said Aberdeen Central math teacher Evelyn McQuillen. "My mission at Central is to get that number down. I find it alarming."

McQuillen did say it's comparable to the nationwide average but higher than the statewide figure of around 29 percent.

The figures are for the 2002-2003 school year, the latest for which statistics are available.

It was even higher for the class of 2002 - almost 51 percent.

Finally, if you are thinking about the future your children will be living in, this is going to cause some rethinking.
In the next few years, your child will come home from school in tears. He'll say, once again, that he is unable to compete with the children who are brighter, better behaved and physically more capable than he is because their parents have bought them technological enhancements and you have not. What will you do?

I don't know how big of an issue this will be. Sure a brain enhancer may make a child more intelligent but the schools would have to change how things are taught to handle that. A lot of children are being drugged right now to make them better behaved. And since PE has pretty much been dropped to make more time for study added strength is not an advantage.

I am not going to worry about this until it actually becomes available. I have seen many technologies never leave the lab because some reason or another didn't allow for mass production.

Concentrate on bringing the best out in your children. Focus on their talents and interests and they will become successful.


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