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And the Winner: Mathematics!

On June 27, 2008, the Associated Press released the results of their poll on American attitudes towards education and other issues. When looking at these results, all mathematics teachers need to remember that these "Americans' are stakeholders in the educational process...who need not only to be listened to but also to be informed (especially if misperceptions arise).

Some results from the poll:

  • More than one-third of the parents said more emphasis in schools should be placed on mathematics (compared to 21% for more English and very small amounts for art, music, and the sciences)
  • Education is an important national issue and on the same level as health care, but both are superceded by the issues of our economy and gas prices
  • Most Americans think its educational process is either just keeping up or falling behind those of other countries.
  • Half said that standardized tests measure the quality of their kids' schooling, and the other half disagreed.
  • Sixty per cent of the Americans claim that a teacher's pay should be tied to the academic performance of his/her students.
  • And, more than half concluded agreed that schools are doing "just a fair job" in giving students the practical skills necessary to succeed as part of the work force or even as adults in a changing society.
These are some things to think about as mathematics teachers prepare for their fall open houses. As a teacher, ask: In discussing your approach to education, are you meeting the needs of students (and how specifically)...as well as being aware of the perceptions of their parents?