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microtrends & mathematics

Mark J. Penn wrote Microtrends: The Small Forces Changing the World. He argues that the most important trends in the world today are the smallest ones. Such as… declining standards in math education!

What should you do on the educational front if you have a child with an aptitude for numbers, as mine does? Both of you had better get cracking, because American college students are studying less math. As an example, “Microtrends” says Harvard has only 77 math majors out of 6,700 undergraduate students.

The math story is different in China and India, which are graduating as many as 950,000 engineers a year. Granted, both nations are far more populous than the United States, but that is a lot of engineers.

Mr. Penn notes that a 2001 bipartisan commission “said that the greatest threat to American national security – behind only terrorist attacks – was the threat of failing to provide sufficient math and science education in America.”

I haven’t read the book yet but it’s high on my wish-list after reading the NYT-article Why There’s Strength in Small Numbers and the Introduction of the book.

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