# MATH MATTERS JUST FOR STEM OCCUPATIONS? REALLY?

Nov 12, 2022 | Red Deer

I remember last year, a high schooler was dragged by her mom to our centre. The student was adamant that she was going to enroll to the faculty of psychology so she won’t really need math. Mom said “but you need a certain math grade to be accepted”. Well, that is true, but more than just a grade, math is strengthening your logical thinking & critical reasoning – which is important for all occupations, not just STEM jobs. When I said that, I could see that she tried hard not to roll her eyes .. lol.

Alright – this headline in the Calgary Herald, Monday November 7, 2022: “Fall enrollment data shows a huge influx of students: Schools face quadrupled class sizes amid return to in-person learning”. And if you scroll the news without paying attention to the details of numbers and words (like many people do), you will be more distressed to catch more shocking words like “our teachers are drowning” “all of it creating perfect storm”.

Let’s step back and read the numbers carefully. The current number of CBE students is 131,215 increased by 5,886. So it means the previous year number was 125,329, and that brings the increase of 4.7%. The Calgary Catholic School’s current total enrollment is 58,881, increased by 2,154. It means the previous year enrollment was 56,727, and the increase is 3.8%.

 Current Enrollment Increase Last Year's Enrollment % Increase CBE 131,215 5,886 125,329 4.70% CCSD 58,881 2,154 56,727 3.80%

This is by no means saying that teachers are not overwhelmed by many things including the increase of class sizes. But the sub-title is so misleading – it’s like saying a class size was 20 and now it’s 80! It might be a click bait, who knows; but it might also be an honest misunderstanding from the journalist or the writer. Either way, it is misleading, especially this article is about education. (For some reason, the online version does not have this sub-title).

Any jobs require math because you must know how to interpret information (related to numbers or not) around you. Math is not just for engineers or mathematicians, but also for journalists, writers, HR staff, bakers, etc.  Studies have found that math ability predicts career success (Success in Math = Success in Life). Can you imagine a situation where an HR Manager provide a summary of payroll report saying that the payroll is quadruplet than last year – and when the report brought to the CEO, that’s when they found out it’s just the increase that is quadruplet than the forecast? This is an old joke, but perhaps there is some degree of truth here: “English is important but Math is importanter”. ðŸ˜Š