Rosie, I have no doubt that you were a straight A student. Ken’s readers are quite intelligent and have solid knowledge in a number of areas, acquired either through formal education or on the job experience. We are, however, all different, with varying interests and abilities.
When I asked to join 51hh and Bozo in the “good at Math” corner, it wasn’t in comparison to anyone. If one can only assess their “good at” or “not so good at” in comparison to others, that’s asking to be disappointed every time. Someone will always be better at something than you, just as you will always be better at something than someone else. In the end what matters most to me is determining my personal “good at” or “not so good at” in relation to my own potential and capabilities. If 40 years after college and 39 years after I stopped teaching HS Math or working in that field I can still tutor a friend’s college sophomore grandson on calculus, probability and statistics and his younger brother on geometry and trigonometry I believe that’s the “good at Math” end of the spectrum. While I have already warned the older child that once he gets to Fourier analysis and topology he will be on his own as once was enough for me, IMO that doesn’t move my needle to the “bad at Math” end.
On the other hand, a cashier who must depend on a register to determine how much change is due the customer doesn't fall into the "bad at Math" category. but in the "our education system has failed shamefully" category.
There are important and challenging real-world problems waiting to be solved which depend on quantitative reasoning and development of complex mathematical models. US teens are lagging their global peers in Math
, people are influenced/manipulated by their emotions in daily activities such as shopping for best deals, and unfortunately some of our citizens can’t make change without machines. Our education system, our values and our reward system are in desperate need of an overhaul.