Tag Archives: math

Associated Press #numeracy #fail

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Jeremy Brooks

This morning’s Tuscaloosa carried an article from the associated press about a petition Don Siegelman has filed with the President asking for his sentence to be commuted. The unnamed AP author states that “Siegelman realizes the odds of getting a presidential commutation are about the same as winning a state lottery.” Just how long are those odds, you ask? “More than 5,700 people convicted of federal crimes have asked Obama for a commutation of their sentences. . . . only one has been approved.”

And that’s why lotteries continue to be so profitable. The odds of winning a lottery are nowhere near 1 in 5700, or even 1 in 57 million. Try 1 in 175 million.

Andrew Hacker’s New York Times editorial is right on target–should we really be forcing millions of kids through algebra when there are much more important quantitative literacy skills that we aren’t teaching?