I’ve heard many, many K-12 students ask, “Why do I need to take math classes? When I am ever going to need this in real life?” Even age doesn’t generate wisdom, as several liberal arts majors in college protest, and when possible, refuse, to take math classes. “I don’t need math to do my job,” they argue. Of course, the students who resist math education don’t buy the, “trust me; you’ll need it someday,” argument. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we now how proof. Proof, that is, that for even the most menial of jobs — working in FEMA for instance — people need math. Read this article that appeared on cnn.com a few days ago: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/21/katrina.supplies/index.html. Need I add more?
Probably not, but let me spell it out for you. Stronger math skills by individuals involved could have prevented this estimating error. That would have led to less heartache for some — and less embarrassment for others.
And, in case you haven’t picked up my less than subtle theme here: math matters. Tell your friends. Tell your children. Tell yourselves.