Article Summary: "It is no secret that the math skills in the United States
have fallen significantly behind the skill level of the rest of the world.
This is a sincere shame as much of the American educational tradition has
been one of many great achievements in mathematical fields."
It is no secret that the math skills in the United States have fallen significantly behind the skill level of the rest of the world. This is a sincere shame as much of the American educational tradition has been one of many great achievements in mathematical fields.
The United States is currently the world's only superpower and that is due in large part to the nation's economic skills. These skills, however, are not based on luck. They are founded in a long tradition of stressing education as a strong education provides the wheels that keep the government and the nation's free market private sector moving. Leaders have always recognized this and this is why the government stressed educational scholarship.
In the 1950's, the United States was not the only superpower as it shared this status with the USSR. When the USSR first launched the space satellite Sputnik into orbit there was a bit of embarrassment felt in the USA that the nation's competitor beat the USA to become the first into space. A realization was made that the key to keeping up with the USSR would be found in increasing the skill level of America's students in math and science. A great deal of resources was put into boosting skills in these areas and the USA eventually eclipsed the USSR in the space race and other scientific fields.
One would think that such a proven formula for success would have forever instilled in the world that its future always lies in its student's math skills. Sadly, many students skills have declined greatly and now the math skills in the USA pale in comparison to those in other parts of the world. This could prove quite disastrous as solid match skills are critical for a future in an economy that is becoming more and more high tech.
As of right now, America's junior high school students are currently ranked around 27th in the world in terms of math scores. This is simply far too low of a number for a nation the size of the United States and a nation that is filled with so many gifted young people. Yet, children in Europe and Asia have pulled ahead of American scores significantly despite having fewer resources at their disposal. What makes this even more perplexing is the fact that the United States spends far more money on its educational system than other countries. Granted, you can not spend a student into performing well or studying. You can only lay the foundation for learning and help coach the student's performance. But, in the face of such declining scores it would not hurt to examine whether or not the teaching module is right or wrong.
So why is there such a disproportion found in math skill levels? One of the reasons for the higher scores in Asia and Europe is the fact that the actual number of hours spent on math and academic subjects is much higher than the United States. In the United States, the time required for match courses is often cut back to fit in other subject matter that has become part of the educational curriculum. This is neither good nor bad. It simply is.
If there were any parting words that could be provided it would be that America's math skill average is a collective average of individuals. That is to say, the individual can always rise above the average if that person is willing to put the proper time and effort into developing the skills. Who knows? Perhaps if enough students take this initiative then the average of those scores may end up going back to their prior glory days after all!