Questions About Math
Why is math so important? graduation, high school students need to be
Sources The more your child knows about math, the
educated to a comparable level of math skills in
algebra, geometry, data analysis and statistics.2
more options he or she will have in life. Studies
1. The American Diploma
show that higher-level math skills mean an But I didn’t need math for my
increased ability to succeed in college and career, so why does my child?
work. For example, a majority of workers who
2. ACT Study, Ready for The workforce of the 21st century is not the
earn more than $40,000 annually have two or
College and Ready for same as it was even a decade ago. Nationwide,
more high school credits at the algebra 2 level
Work: Same or Different?, the number of jobs requiring technical training
or higher. 1
2006 is growing five times faster than other occupa-
3. Prosperity Partnership, Why is middle school math so tions. Here in Washington, our state leads the
2007 important? nation in jobs for people with bachelor degrees
in science and engineering, but is 38th in the
Research indicates that proficiency in algebra number of students graduating with these de-
4. Achieve, Inc., Do All by the end of 8th grade is critical for success in grees.3 And according to the Associated Gen-
Students Need Challeng- higher level mathematics classes. eral Contractors of America, electricians, pipe
ing Math in High School? Unfortunately, middle school is where the fitters, sheet metal workers, draftsmen and
cracks begin to show. Unknowingly, they enroll surveyors need algebra, geometry, trigonom-
in a lower-level math track that proves difficult etry and physics to be successful on the job.4
to get out of once they’re in high school.
What if my child just isn’t good at
Does my child really need to take math?
While it’s true that some students may like
To secure a job that will eventually support a math more than others, all students are capable
family, students will need at least 1-2 years of of learning math at higher levels. Some students
education or training beyond high school. Stu- may be more successful in math if it is taught in
dents planning to attend a 2-year community a more hands-on way. Increasingly, career and
or technical college or 4-year baccalaureate technical education programs offer rigorous
institution must take a placement test in math. math- and science-based programs in path-
Those who don’t pass must enroll in remedial, ways such as nursing, veterinarian sciences,
or “pre-college,” classes. Students don’t receive computer programming and robotics. To make
All students credit for pre-college classes, but they do have sure your children keep all of their options
to pay for them. That means paying for classes
are capable of your child could have taken for free in high
open, make sure these courses cover skills
through advanced algebra and geometry.
learning math at school.
higher levels. What can I do to make sure my child
What if my child doesn’t plan on go- is well prepared in math?
ing to college? Does he/she still need
math? Studies show that having high expectations
has a great impact on student success, so be
In today’s world, math is no longer just for sure to encourage your child to take the high-
college-bound students. A 2006 study by ACT est level math possible. Actively participate in
examined the skills needed to succeed as a your child’s course selection each semester
freshmen in college and compared them to and encourage them to take math all four
skills needed for job-training programs that years of high school. If your child struggles in
earn a sufficient wage to support a family of math class, ask the teacher about after school
four. ACT found that whether planning to enter support programs or online tutorials. Being
college or workforce training programs after involved can make a world of difference!
College Work Ready Agenda • www.collegeworkready.org • Partnership for Learning • www.partnership4learning.org