By Evan Cardin, Troy O’Connor, Meghan Kocher, Pauline Tarife
Most people think of literacy as the ability to read and write in your native language. However, math literacy is a growing concern in the twenty first century. Educator Robert Moses founded the Algebra Project on the belief that math literacy is necessary for success in the twenty first century, and those who practice math illiteracy, or innumeracy, are only going to struggle in the real world. There is such a strong emphasis in our society on being able to read and write, but math is often dismissed as a subject that people either do or do not understand. While innumeracy is a problem to a certain degree in all different parts of the United States, it seems to be a more vast problem in urban areas. Looking at the city of Trenton, we found innumeracy to be a major problem with no immediate solution.
In this article in the Star Ledger, it is noted that only 25% of eleventh graders in Trenton Central High School passed the math portion of the HSPA in 2010, and 27% in 2011. While it is clear that these statistics are abysmal, what is even more frightening is there seems to be some satisfcation with this improvement. In reality, this improvement is marginal and roughly one out of four students are labeled as proficient in math still.
With this community conversation we hope to get to the root of innumeracy. We hope to identify some of the causes of this problem and also identify some of the obstacles standing in the way of a math literate world. By inviting Trenton teachers and education theorists to engage in our conversation, we seek to discuss and analyze the problem of innumeracy in the urban setting and come up with possible solutions towards putting a stronger emphasis on math literacy in the real world.
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