Math has never really been one of my strongest subjects. I can eventually figure out the answers, but I usually take the scenic route to get there. This became particularly clear when I was introduced to Algebra in the 8th grade. Algebra introduced me to a whole new concept of figuring out unknowns. As I did my homework, I would frequently ask my parents why the heck we had to figure out what "X" was, and how is this relevant to my life in the real world anyway? I would certainly not be pursuing a career in math.
As I was reading through a math test my son brought home, I recognized that irrelevance to the real world begins much earlier in math education than I would have expected. Take the following question:
"I found 14 shells on the beach. I went home and put them in my magic pot and they were doubled. How many shells do I have now?"
Who the heck has a magic pot that doubles things? And if you had a magic pot that doubled things, would you really be doubling sea shells? No! Money is what you would double! Money and cookies... to start with.
Our education system is clearly failing our children.