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An All-fronts Assault on the Math Deficit Don Read Business and Information Systems Department Bronx Community College City University of New York

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Why Does Math Matter?

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I do not believe... that most college faculty share the same degree of anxiety with regard to shortfalls in QL that they have with respect to verbal skills, especially writing. -Peter T. Ewell in Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy

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The wall of ignorance between those who are mathematically and scientifically literate and those who are not can threaten democratic cultures. Anthony P. and Donna M. Desrochers, The democratization of mathematics.

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Quantitative Literacy empowers people by giving them the tools to think for themselves, to ask intelligent questions of experts, and to confront authority confidently. These are skills required to thrive in the modern world. Mathematics and Democracy Lynn Arthur Steen, Editor

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We are beset by public opinion polls and by data-driven arguments about the relative merits of various policy alternatives.

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Our choices as voters may depend, in part, on our ability to sort through competing claims rooted in quantitative measures. David Tritelli, Editor, Peer Review

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A quantitatively illiterate citizenone who is unable to evaluate statistical arguments competently...

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or incapable of grasping the potential implications of data trendsmay be easily mystified. David Tritelli, Editor, Peer Review

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The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, citing the failure of general education, reported that mathematics is no longer required at 62% of the examined institutions. Lynn Arthur Steen, in Peer Review

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In a survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, [the U.S.] ranked 28 th out of 40 countries in mathematics, far below Finland and South Korea, and about on a par with Portugal. -NY Times, 12Dec2004

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Unless American society is committed to improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, our competitiveness in the global economy will be jeopardized. -Math education professor, Queens College, CUNY

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Without an understanding of math, it is impossible to understand science or be intelligent about the claims of advertisers, politicians or charlatans. - Middle school math teacher, California

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The math placement score is the single best predictor of success in college. - Nancy Ritze, Associate Dean for Institutional Research, Bronx Community College

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ABCD 1 Revenues (millions) 2 20042005 (projected) Rate of increase 3 47 12.5% 4 5 Assume a 12.5% growth in revenues from 2004 to 2005. Write the formula that goes into cell B3. 6 7 8

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Mr. Snelgrove, I happen to know that in the future, I will never have the slightest use for algebra. And I speak from experience. -Kathleen Turner, in Peggy Sue Got Married

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An educated populace needs to understand probabilities and statistics more than algebra. -Professor, New York Law School

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Your mind doesnt think abstractly unless its asked toand it needs to be asked to from a relatively young age. The rigor and logic that goes into math is a good way for your brain to be trained. -High school math teacher, NY Times, 12Dec2004

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What ties us to our past is the conviction that there is a powerful connection between mathematics and reason. -Joan L. Richards in Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy

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When teaching mathe- matics is seen as a way of teaching people how to think, it can no longer be isolated. Its implications spread throughout the curriculum and it has a place in every class. -Joan L. Richards in Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy

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