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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kids’ brains reorganize as math skills develop

The Columbus Dispatch – Lauren Neergaard

“Sometime in elementary school, you quit counting your fingers and just knew the answer. Now, scientists have put youngsters into brain scanners to find out why and watched how the brain reorganizes itself as kids learn math. The take-home advice: Drilling your kids on simple addition and multiplication pays off.” (more)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Improving math readiness requires matching education to student goals: Editorial Agenda 2014

Oregon Live – Editorial

“The numbers on math readiness are so bad that it’s easy to become discouraged without even taking time to add them up. The latest batch of depressing digits came last week, courtesy of the ACT college-testing organization. Only 47 percent of Oregon students in the Class of 2014 who took the ACT test showed that they were ready for college math classes. An even lower number, 40 percent, were ready for college science.” (more)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

COLUMN-Maths and science are increasingly critical to career success: Kemp

Reuters – John Kemp

“More than 30 of the 50 best-paid occupations in the United States require graduate or postgraduate training in STEM subjects, including medical sciences, according to pay data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its annual survey of Occupational Employment and Wages.” (more)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Is your child a candidate for stress-related substance abuse?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Is your wise, well-adjusted teen really drug abuse proof?


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse more than 660,000 Americans used heroin in 2012, double the number six years earlier. Most of the new heroin users are young adults, age 18-25.


Because illicit drug and alcohol use among middle and high school students has been relatively steady, the increase has gone largely unnoticed by parents with school age children. Even though there is no immediate threat to younger kids, it is probably wise for parents to take notice.


With the weak economy, there is concern that college students and recent college graduates may be turning to drugs as a cheap way to cope with employment prospects and debt.


Finding high quality employment is challenging. About 40% of the recent college graduates are unemployed, 16% have part time jobs, and many of those that do have jobs are stuck in assignments that do not require a college degree. According to a recent Gallop/Purdue University poll, about 70% of college graduates have debt. The average debt is more than $33,000, up from $18,600 in 2004. Among those who took the poll, 11% took out more than $50,000 and an additional 21% borrowed between $25,000 and $50,000.


Between job woes and loan payment stress, it is easy to understand why this age group is under pressure.


How can parents help?


It is imperative for parents understand that the job market has changed. Good jobs, regardless of the field, require outstanding math, science, communication, and critical thinking skills.


Then parents need to talk with their children about the financial realities of higher education. Higher education only makes sense when the cost, including loans, is low compared to the income generated after graduation. Otherwise, kids should pursue a trade that has good earning potential and low entry costs like plumbing, hair dressing, and real estate.


Finally parents should think critically about high cost sports and arts activities. Frequently the costs of teachers, coaches, and travel reduces the money a family can save and may force a child to accept admission to a college where the prospects of high quality employment are low.


Making sure your child has strong math and science skills, carefully selecting extra curricular activities, and evaluating the need for higher education can decrease pressure and reduce the chance your child will turn to drugs to cope with financial stress.


Math plays a major role in financial literacy

Cincinnati.com – Julie Heath, PhD

“In fact, the best predictor of performance on financial literacy is students’ access to and performance on conceptual-based math courses. We have known for quite some time that U.S. students’ math scores lag those of many other countries. Now we know that this math deficiency also plays a part in U.S. students’ ability to apply concepts within a financial literacy context.” (more)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Exercise in math class? How one math teacher gets kids moving while studying

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“I recently published a post titled “Why so many students can’t sit still in school today” that was very popular with readers. The piece mentioned Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but another factor, as well: the idea expressed by pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom that academic pressures in school have reduced or eliminated the time that kids have for recess, physical education or other activities that allow them to get up and move.” (more)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Six Myths in the New York Times Math Article by Elizabeth Green

Education Next – Tom Loveless

“The July 27, 2014 edition of the New York Times Sunday Magazine featured an article by Elizabeth Green entitled “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?” In this blog post, I identify six myths promulgated in that article. Let me be clear at the outset. I am an admirer of Elizabeth Green’s journalism and am sympathetic to the idea that improving teaching would raise American math achievement.” (more)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Common-Core Math Textbooks to Get Online Ratings

Education Week – Liana Heitin

“A new group billing itself as a “Consumer Reports for school materials” will soon begin posting free online reviews of major textbooks and curricula that purport to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards—an effort, some say, that has the potential to shake up the market.” (more)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Top Math Prize Has Its First Female Winner

The New York Times – Kenneth Chang

“An Iranian mathematician is the first woman ever to receive a Fields Medal, often considered to be mathematics’ equivalent of the Nobel Prize…While women have reached parity in many academic fields, mathematics is still dominated by men…” (more)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dick Resch: America’s math crisis

Madison.com – Dick Resch

“EAccording to a new study from the Brookings Institution, jobs in science, technology, engineering and math are vacant for more than twice as long as other positions — largely because employers can’t find people with the math and science skills to fill them.” (more)