You give it to your kids.
By Vic Napier
Among industrialized nations, Americans have the worst relationship with arithmetic and math. According to a 2015 Pew Research study, in a field of 72 countries, American 15-year-olds placed 39th in math scores.
Those 15-year-olds grow up to be American adults who cannot do simple math.
A research study in the journal Education finds that 71% of Americans cannot calculate gas mileage, 58% cannot figure a tip, and 78% do not have the skills to compute loan interest. How do people manage these routine calculations when they have no idea how to do them? Research suggests they estimate — and “pad” their estimation. In other words, they overpay. Imagine how much money they lose by avoiding simple math.
Babies only a few months old have (very) basic math skills. By the time these babies are old enough to enter college, however, 80% will report math anxiety to researchers. What’s causing the math anxiety epidemic?
The research is clear: It’s us — parents and teachers.
In one sense, math anxiety is contagious. Parents and teachers who are anxious about math easily pass that anxiety onto their children and students.