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They Say: American Kids Still Lagging in Math and Science

By Sunny Chanel |

badmathMost of our kids may be able to read and write a-okay but they are apparently lagging in their all important math and science studies. This week the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, stated that American kids are falling behind in those areas and may not be able to compete globally.

The National Center for Education Statistics did a comparison of 15-year-old students here and abroad and found that American kids ranked below average in both math and science. In their math studies, the kids came in at the bottom quarter of the report. In all, the scores haven’t fallen but they have remained stagnant with other countries scores getting better.

Duncan told the National Science Board this week, “We are lagging the rest of the world, and we are lagging it in pretty substantial ways…I think we have become complacent. We’ve sort of lost our way.” He continued to say about the study that, “It has huge implications…I think as a real economic imperative we have to educate our way to a better economy.”

One factor he cited was that it’s hard in some places in the US to find good math and science teachers and saying that perhaps a system should be introduced to pay math and science teachers more to make the marketplace more competitive.

Do you think it’s the teachers or the students who are to blame?


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About Sunny Chanel


Sunny Chanel

Since 2007 Sunny Chanel has written thousands of pieces for Babble. She currently writes for Babble's celebrity, moms, and Disney voices sections and has her own blog aptly named Sunny Chanel. You can find Sunny on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sunny's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “They Say: American Kids Still Lagging in Math and Science

  1. Laure68 says:

    I think this is so true. Maybe I am overreaching, but I think our society looks down on math and science. Kids who like it are considered nerds. I have heard so many parents tell their kids how much they hated math themselves. This will only cause kids to hate it also.

    Also, how many times have you seen a “debate” on TV where a scientific professional (doctor, scientist, etc.) is pitted against some random person who learned what they know through google. Our culture views them as similar, and often puts the non-scientist on a pedestal. (Oprah, anyone?)

    Also, in other countries that I am familiar with, even if you do not concentrate in math or science you still need a pretty good basic knowledge to graduate. Here, the thought is “well, they’ll never use it in real life, so why bother.”

    OK, enough with my rant. This is a subject I feel very strongly about.

  2. Lisa says:

    Most elementary teachers know nothing about science and teach it less than an hour a week. Math at this level is usually less than 4 hours a week.

    At the middle school level, you have some knowledgeable teachers and some who know nothing about their topic. We’re teaching calculator dependence very young and pretending basic skills like fractions and multiplication don’t have importance later on.

  3. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Laure68, I totally agree. All really good points.

  4. Richard Pidial says:

    What we are experiencing today in is the result of what ‘do-godders’implemented in the mid seventees. Parents today were kids then; they were taught using methods that were experimental and as with any experiment it can go either way. Those children of then are today’s parents. Mehodologies of teaching keep changing (experiment)trying to rectify the mistakes, but the generation responsible for the children of today grew up with a different mindset, how can they be expected to help their children in math or science? Good old times tables for example, what percentage of school kids know their tables? How many parents know theirs for that matter? The answer will shock you!

  5. dee says:

    I am a lady with a degree in engineering. I cannot tell you how many g-d times in casual conversation about said degree people comment along the lines of “math is hard! Hard stuff is hard and thus not worth doing! GOD! I hate hard stuff, it makes me feel so dumb!” Get over it. People need to drop the anti-intellectualism crap, seriously. Math is hard for some, not so for others. Dyscalculia is a reality. HOWEVER. Math is doable. Reading is doable. Science is… pretty easy… It’s the study of the world around us, how damn hard is it to sit and observe?! Like Laure68, this is a big issue to me, and I totally agree with her. Anti-intellectualism bs hurts us all.

  6. Vidal Aponte says:

    This is why it is so important that parents provide a teach your baby math program to their kids at a very young age. Math can be a very difficult subject, but if you teach them young they will excel in it with absolutely no problem. Almost every job requires numbers so it is imperative that our kids know how to do math. The best ages to teach them is from 1 month old until 6 so if anyone has babies this age you must teach them. One of the comments provided here stated that math is not something that will be used anyway, but I disagree totally. The world is evolved around mathematics so parents teach them.

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