The USA scores poorly on international math abilities tests. It seems to be in the news on almost a daily basis. The skeptic in me says that the Teachers Unions want us to read things like this to support the constant demands for more funds for schools. You would think they would be embarrassed by these findings but they see the failing scores as being the fault of taxpayers for not allocating more resources to them.
If you don’t think we are basically mathematically illiterate in the USA, you need only consider two facts:
We still stamp out, distribute and use pennies.
We mandate the use of ethanol in our auto fuel.
Latest Department of the Treasury information claims it costs 1.99 cents per penny to produce one. Just last year alone, stamping out pennies and nickels alone produced a$42 Million loss for the U.S. Government. It doesn’t take a math genius to know that stamping pennies is a waste of tax dollars. Most countries where math concepts are better understood have stopped stamping coins that cost more to make than their face value. Canada has stopped the use of the penny. Canada scores well above the USA in math scores for 8th and 12th graders. It makes sense.
Then, there is ethanol. In the US, it is made mostly from corn. The unintended consequences of substituting Corn Ethanol for gasoline add up to a staggering $67 Billion cost to the economy. The cost in Federal Subsidies alone add up to about $8 Billion. If private makers of ethanol use traditional fuels (electric, diesel, etc.) to power the equipment to make the ethanol, you know that the cost of the traditional fuels is lower. Once you see Ethanol plants powered by ethanol, you will know it is an efficient fuel. Until that day, we are, like with the penny, seeing our tax dollars wasted.
If you can give me any mathematically sound arguments to keep the penny or to increase the use of ethanol in our fuel to 20% (as has been done recently in Minnesota), I would like to hear them.