There’s more to life than being good at math. And yet, when a nation systematically fails to teach its children proper mathematics, it puts its future at risk.
The Daily Telegraph reported the results of an extensive study of high school students’ math performance around the world.
It found that the children of upper middle class British professionals not only performed worse than the children of their Chinese counterparts. They performed worse than the children of Chinese manual laborers..
The Telegraph explains:
British schoolchildren are lagging so far behind their peers in the Far East that even pupils from wealthy backgrounds are now performing worse in exams than the poorest students in China, an international study shows.
The children of factory workers and cleaners in parts of the Far East are more than a year ahead of the offspring of British doctors and lawyers, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Obviously, the British newspaper was more interested in the decline and fall of the British Empire than in what has been happening in American high schools.
But, the Telegraph eventually reveals that the children of American professionals do not do any better than their British counterparts, when compared with lower class Asian children:
The report said: “In the United States and the United Kingdom, where professionals are among the highest-paid in the world, students whose parents work as professionals do not perform as well in mathematics as children of professionals in other countries — nor do they perform as we as the children in Shanghai-China and Singapore whose parents work in manual occupations.”
Does it matter? Of course it does.
Elizabeth Truss, the education minister in Great Britain explained:
The reality is that unless we change our philosophy, and get better at maths, we will suffer economic decline. At the moment our performance in maths is weakening our skills base and threatening our productivity and growth.
Where’s the Tiger Mom now that we need her?
All of those who criticized the Tiger Mom as an abusive parent, who disparaged self-discipline and even rote learning, have some ‘splaining to do.
And, so do the American educators who foisted “fuzzy math” on the population because they decided that right and wrong answers would damage a child’s illusions of self-esteem.