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Mathematics in Today’s World


In today's world, we are bombarded with data that must be absorbed, sorted, organized, and used to make decisions. The underpinnings of everyday life, such as making purchases, choosing insurance or health plans, and planning for retirement, all require mathematical competence. Business and industry need workers who can solve real-world problems, explain their thinking to others, identify and analyze trends in data, and use modern technology.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveal that more students must pursue mathematical and technical occupations. Employment projections to 2010 expect these occupations to add the most jobs and grow the fastest among the eight professional and related occupational subgroups (Hecker 2001). But will enough qualified workers be available to fill the projected 2 million positions? Sixty percent of all new jobs in the early twenty-first century will require skills that are possessed by only 20 percent of the current workforce (National Commission on Mathematics and Science for the Twenty-first Century 2000). Whatever your child chooses to do in life, you can be certain that having a strong understanding of mathematics will open doors to a productive future.

Mastering challenging mathematics is not just a classroom skill-it's a life skill!

Why is Math Important for our Students?


Today's students must master advanced skills in mathematics, science, and technology to stay on track for college and for promising careers. Mathematics teaches ways of thinking that are essential to work and civic life.

  • Students who take algebra and geometry go on to college at much higher rates than those who do not (83% vs. 36%).
  • Most four-year colleges require three to four years each of high school math and science for admission.
  • Almost 90% of all new jobs require math skills beyond the high school level.
  • Entry-level automobile workers must use advanced mathematics formulas to wire a car's electrical circuits.
  • Strong math skills are needed for understanding graphs, charts, and opinion polls in a newspaper, for calculating house and car payments, and for choosing a long-distance telephone service.

From A Family's Guide: Fostering Your Child's Success in School Mathematics. Copyright © 2004 The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.  All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed electronically without written permission from NCTM.

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