We are all familiar with the term “reading first” and you can’t argue that literacy is important. However, when it comes to kids making more money later in life, more math may mean more money.
A recent study published by a Harvard professor seems to conclude that the more math classes a student takes, the more likely their income is to rise after graduation. This would also correspond to research done in the state of California in the early 2000’s. After controlling for other factors, just one extra course in algebra or geometry can be associated with 6.3% higher earnings!
What does this mean for us as elementary math teachers? First of all, we want to be sure we are providing all students with the benchmarks needed in mathematics in grades K-5 so that they have the foundation needed for high math classes in middle school, high school, and college (should they choose). Secondly, we must ensure that students learn how to be great thinkers and problems solvers now, so they can more easily make the transition to higher level classes in the future. Finally, when kids ask why is math important, just ask them if they think making money is important!
Unless you want to be a math teacher, it probably is! 😉