Sunday, September 8, 2013

Do poll results support tough math standards?

According to the latest Gallup Poll of 2000 adults, ages 18 and older, "Americans grade math as the most valuable school subject." (  Math beat English/Literature/Reading easily, with 34% voting for math and 21% voting for English.

I predict that common core supporters will use these results as evidence that tough math standards are a good idea. 

The Gallup Poll did indeed say that math was considered the most valuable school subject. But Gallup did not ask what level of math. 

Those who had a high school education or less were the most enthusiastic about math (43% voted for math, compared to 19% of those with post-graduate college.).  This suggests that people find basic math valuable. I doubt that many people were thinking about calculus or even algebra when they voted for math. I suspect that they were thinking about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, and percentages.

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