It seems to be socially acceptable, even among educators, to
admit that we don’t like math or are not good at it. I know that none of us would say publicly
that we are not good at reading. We may
say we don’t like reading but that does not mean that we can’t read or
comprehend a text if it were part of our job.
So why is it all right to say “I hate math!” or “I am not a math
person”?

If math is problem solving, logical thinking, drawing
conclusions, providing proofs, checking for reasonableness and justifying an
answer, shouldn’t all of us learn to be good at it? Can anyone go through life not needing these
skills? Can we afford to treat
mathematical thinking as the domain of only a few, if we aim to have a
democratic society where every member is contributing his or her share?

We are lucky enough to live in an age where the
computational part of math can be done using machines, much faster and more
accurate. Machines can also remember all
the routine formulas and algorithms. We
can program them to do whatever we want them to do. But that is not all there is to math. Only humans can do the thinking part of
math.

We are wired for communication. And for at least 10,000 years we have needed
to measure and communicate about time, quantity and distance. We developed language and script to
communicate our thoughts and feelings.
We developed the language of math to solve problems and have a way to
communicate our solutions.

But there is more at stake than a choice in careers or access to higher education. The opportunity to learn to reason and problem solve is the right of every human being, man or woman, rich or poor.