Here is a wild paradox that most people can understand: Most Americans have taken high school math and even college math, yet a national survey found that 82% of adults could not figure out the cost a carpet when told its dimensions and square-yard price. Calculus and higher level math has a purpose (very rarely), however, it's not used in averages people's lives. American students are bored by math, science, and engineering and would rather spend time on their smartphones, but most don't have the intellect to even build one. Engineers and physicists are often portrayed as geeks and nerds, however, there is a huge importance of the jobs to the country's future. Nearly 90% of high school graduates say they're not interested in a career or major in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or math).
One of the biggest reasons for the lack of interest is that students have been turned off to the subjects due to the teachers having no expertise in the subjects, and being followed by outdated curriculum and textbooks. People have then been convinced they're "no good at math" and they don't want the stereotype associated with math and science. This system has been broken for so long now that in the time that we need more STEM majors, there is simply no people there for the jobs. According to The New York Times, it is estimated within 5 years, there will be 2.4 million STEM job openings.
What should we do? Change the curriculum? Train the teachers better? Figure out how our brains are wired? As a struggling math student currently, I have no idea what was wrong with the system. I have attended hours and hours of tutoring, SI sessions, and lectures but nothing seems to click. I can understand what is going on in class and keep up for the most part, however, the day of the test it all seems to have disappeared from my brain. Competition has been more important to the education hierarchy, even after summer break most kids forget how to do math.
There are thousands of students like me who feel like math and science are their weakest subjects at school. Our brains are divided into two hemispheres, left and right. One side of your brain has math and academic qualities and the other side has more of a creative side. We are more dominant on one side than the other. So is it our fault, that our brains are wired differently from others?
There needs to be a change somewhere. There is not one person or thing to blame in this situation, but whatever it is it needs to be changed. We will not be able to move forward as a society if we do not make a change.