January 12, 2016The Powerball payout has reached the jaw-dropping, mind-numbing (insert your favorite hyper-adjective here) level of $1.4 billion. I must speak: state lotteries are one of the most sinister and unfair ideas our elected officials have ever had. And simple, straightforward numerical thinking would have clarified everything. Let us count the reasons why I feel this way:
October 28, 2015A Washington Post article, citing this year’s report on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), reports that from 2013 to 2015, fourth-grade and eighth-grade math scores declined somewhat nationwide, and were stagnant or slightly down in reading. Are we really doing worse, or are we wasting our time with all this testing?
May 06, 2015A good friend has children in sixth grade at a Manhattan public school, where they recently administered statewide standardized tests. Just before the math section, the teacher handed out protractors as necessary tools, whereupon several of the students burst into tears, because they had never seen a protractor. Why do I find this anecdote so upsetting?
July 03, 2014“Is Math Liberal?” – a recent review on the Mother Jones website of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, a book by University of Wisconsin math professor Jordan Ellenberg – suggests that math is not just about computation, but also a framework for thinking through problems intelligently.
April 21, 2014In today’s Washington Post, Jay Mathews writes about the dramatic increase in the length of college acceptance wait lists. His focus is on the strategies wait-listed high school seniors might pursue, but let’s consider just why those wait lists are so long.
April 15, 2014Developing scorekeeping metrics is a critically important yet undervalued role of the chief financial officer. CFOs ignore this role at their and their organizations’ peril, because if they don’t set the scorekeeping metrics, others will, and will make a mess of it.
May 12, 2011In an ExxonMobil TV ad supporting the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), the voice-over says that “high schools. . . enrolled in the NMSI have raised AP test scores by 138%.” ExxonMobil reasserts this claim on their corporate website.
March 22, 2009Spring has come, and the thoughts of many of us — well, those of us with teenage children of a certain age — turn to the letters (or e-mails) that will shortly be arriving from colleges. Soon, at cocktail parties throughout the land, we will hear the animated, high-pitched chirping of parents, relating anecdotes of superteens they know of who received those dreaded thin envelopes in spite of being captain of the state champion quidditch team, receiving the Nobel Prize in robotics, and scoring 1600 (well, 2400, these days) on their SATs.
March 05, 2009Recently, I took a bank CEO to task for asserting that you could actually identify which dollars in your bank account were used to pay which bills, thereby insulting the intelligence of many (see “All Dollars Are Green,” posted 2/15/09). But corporations aren’t the worst offenders here. That award goes to state and federal legislatures.