Lately there have been rumblings in social media by women, mothers mostly, either stating or demonstrating a severe lack of math skills. It usually manifests in tweets or throw-away mentions such as "Johnny needed help with his homework today and I suck at math!" And Johnny is in third grade.
That makes me really worried about the future, because innumeracy is just as progress-limiting as illiteracy. Would anyone humble-brag that they could not parse a sentence in "The Babysitters Club" or not be able to spell the word "street"? Then why is it okay to throw one's hands up and give up on knowing basic mathematical survival skills?
Of course, I do not expect everyone in America to be able to throw down a Riemann summation 20 years after their last math class, but I hope to God that most people, and yes, even housewives (I'm being sarcastic of course), remember how to calculate the correct change when the total is $17.49 and they are given a $20 bill, that .2 == 20% == 2/10 == 1/5, or how to calculate the area of a rectangle when given the length and width.
This is a real-life example from today: an Etsy seller was selling a set of bangle bracelets. Someone asked her the size of the bangles, which is of course a totally reasonable question. The seller responded, "The inner diameter is 2.5 inches."
The original commenter FREAKED OUT, saying, "2.5 inches??? That's like a child size! I could never fit that over my hand! Darn!"
-__- I understand most bracelet sizes are labeled in terms of circumference, so a typical size would be 7-8 inches. Yes, 2.5 inches sounds like a remarkably small bracelet. But people, let's please raise our personal standards to be able to calculate the circumference of a circle when given the diameter. Please???
Okay, had to get that off my chest. :P I understand I must come off as a math snob.