math panel says: emphasize fractions

Readers of my editorials may recall one piece wherein I mentioned the story of a 1980s presidential candidate who reportedly had to ask his press entourage how to calculate the decimal equivalent of 3/7, to help his son with a home work problem. With that tale in mind, perhaps the recommendations of a presidential panel on math education should come as no surprise:

"Difficulty with fractions (including decimals and percents) is pervasive and is a major obstacle to further progress in mathematics, including algebra," the panel, appointed by President Bush two years ago, said in a report.

Another main point to come out of the panel's work is that we really don't know all that much about the best way to teach mathematical concepts. You can read a good commentary on the report findings here, as well as find a link to the report itself:

http://mathpanelwatch.blogspot.com/

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Lee Teschler

Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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