Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Math in Middle School and High School. How important is it?

Microsoft did a survey of College Students and parents about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). STEM, over the course of the next decade or 2, will be where most of the worldwide higher paying jobs will come from.  Are your Middle Schools and High Schools preparing your college bound child well enough for them to succeed in STEM?

According to the survey, the answer to the question is a big NO.  Most of the parents and college students surveyed believe they were not prepared enough in their respective secondary education institutions for what they needed in college.

Why do I think this is an important subject?  Because I believe it is true.  I am very fortunate to have a son in the 8th grade who is an honor student (He gets that from his mom.) My son, Brendan, is not a good student. He is a GREAT student. He has consistently scored the highest or one of the top 3 highest scores on his EOG (End of Grade) tests. North Carolina’s answer to “No child left behind”.  And he is consistently one of the best students in his grade.

Now, I am not one to brag. But I will now.  Brendan was invited to participate in Duke’s TIP program for seventh graders last year.  Through this program he was able to take the SATs with college bound 11th graders this past January.  He did extremely well. And now has all kinds of opportunities world wide that are available for him to participate in.

How did he get there? He was very fortunate to have math teachers who realized the simple truth that is stated in the results of Microsoft’s survey.  Math is important! In fact, in the Orange County School System, advanced math is emphasized and encouraged in the Middle Schools.  Brendan started with Algebra in 7th grade and is now taking Geometry.  (He is also taking English 1 so he will get High School credit for it.)

What does Brendan want to be when he grows up? An engineer!  He has already showed a preference for his mom’s alma-mater Purdue.  He also realizes that math is what is going to help him succeed.  (He also dreams of being a professional Goalie in the Premier League as well, oh well, so much for math.)

We as parents need to be a part of the equation (pun intended) as well. We need to encourage our kids at an early age to look at math as something fun and interesting. I remember driving Brendan to and from pre school singing our numbers to 1000 by tens. We had lots of fun.  So yeah, math is important, and fun too!

till next time…

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