I have spent much of the past few years advocating for education reform here in Ontario.

Math has been on my radar since my now-teenage daughter was in Grade 4. After seeing times tables taped to students’ desks, I knew we were in for trouble.

Flash forward to today. Ontario students in the elementary levels are well below a decent mark when it comes to math.

Our EQAO scores are not improving and the money parents are spending on private tutoring is well beyond reasonable.

Most people tend to think of math as that course they sat in doing boring work, crazy formulas and fiddling with numbers that wouldn’t be needed after graduation.

Well, I hate to say it, but you’re wrong. Math is part of our daily lives.

Every hour, most of us are using some form of math. From the time we wake up in the morning and estimate how long it’s going to take us to prepare and get to work to the time we spend counting down how many hours of sleep we’re going to get.

When we are banking, shopping and even doing laundry, our brains use math. We use basic arithmetic, percentages, estimates and — whether you realize it or not — algebra all of the time.

Most of us cook or bake and use fractions, volume and, again, basic arithmetic. We use math to figure how long it will take us to get somewhere and how much gas we will need.

When we make mistakes at home and on our own watch, we have to deal with it. But what about when it’s someone else?

My husband is a tradesman who spends time overseeing apprentices. He has noticed the younger crowd struggling because they have insufficient math skills.

Many of the contractors I know, from carpenters to electricians to concrete workers, tell the same story of having difficulties finding workers who are competent in math.

Our entire financial sector needs to be efficient in knowing multiple areas of math in order to help us mortgage a house, finance a new car or plan for our retirements. You may have even witnessed cashiers struggle with how much change to give us back when it isn’t automatically calculated.

So as we sit back and think of the “boring” math classes and tests we all hated, just know it does serve a purpose.

If we turn our backs on it and don’t encourage a strong math skill set in our children, it affects us all in the end.

*Sarah Warry-Poljanski is a Mountain resident and an advocate for education reform and improving public services for children and youth.*

*If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800.*

I have spent much of the past few years advocating for education reform here in Ontario.

Math has been on my radar since my now-teenage daughter was in Grade 4. After seeing times tables taped to students’ desks, I knew we were in for trouble.

Flash forward to today. Ontario students in the elementary levels are well below a decent mark when it comes to math.

Our EQAO scores are not improving and the money parents are spending on private tutoring is well beyond reasonable.

Most people tend to think of math as that course they sat in doing boring work, crazy formulas and fiddling with numbers that wouldn’t be needed after graduation.

Well, I hate to say it, but you’re wrong. Math is part of our daily lives.

Every hour, most of us are using some form of math. From the time we wake up in the morning and estimate how long it’s going to take us to prepare and get to work to the time we spend counting down how many hours of sleep we’re going to get.

When we are banking, shopping and even doing laundry, our brains use math. We use basic arithmetic, percentages, estimates and — whether you realize it or not — algebra all of the time.

Most of us cook or bake and use fractions, volume and, again, basic arithmetic. We use math to figure how long it will take us to get somewhere and how much gas we will need.

When we make mistakes at home and on our own watch, we have to deal with it. But what about when it’s someone else?

My husband is a tradesman who spends time overseeing apprentices. He has noticed the younger crowd struggling because they have insufficient math skills.

Many of the contractors I know, from carpenters to electricians to concrete workers, tell the same story of having difficulties finding workers who are competent in math.

Our entire financial sector needs to be efficient in knowing multiple areas of math in order to help us mortgage a house, finance a new car or plan for our retirements. You may have even witnessed cashiers struggle with how much change to give us back when it isn’t automatically calculated.

So as we sit back and think of the “boring” math classes and tests we all hated, just know it does serve a purpose.

If we turn our backs on it and don’t encourage a strong math skill set in our children, it affects us all in the end.

*Sarah Warry-Poljanski is a Mountain resident and an advocate for education reform and improving public services for children and youth.*

*If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800.*

I have spent much of the past few years advocating for education reform here in Ontario.

Math has been on my radar since my now-teenage daughter was in Grade 4. After seeing times tables taped to students’ desks, I knew we were in for trouble.

Flash forward to today. Ontario students in the elementary levels are well below a decent mark when it comes to math.

Our EQAO scores are not improving and the money parents are spending on private tutoring is well beyond reasonable.

Most people tend to think of math as that course they sat in doing boring work, crazy formulas and fiddling with numbers that wouldn’t be needed after graduation.

Well, I hate to say it, but you’re wrong. Math is part of our daily lives.

Every hour, most of us are using some form of math. From the time we wake up in the morning and estimate how long it’s going to take us to prepare and get to work to the time we spend counting down how many hours of sleep we’re going to get.

When we are banking, shopping and even doing laundry, our brains use math. We use basic arithmetic, percentages, estimates and — whether you realize it or not — algebra all of the time.

Most of us cook or bake and use fractions, volume and, again, basic arithmetic. We use math to figure how long it will take us to get somewhere and how much gas we will need.

When we make mistakes at home and on our own watch, we have to deal with it. But what about when it’s someone else?

My husband is a tradesman who spends time overseeing apprentices. He has noticed the younger crowd struggling because they have insufficient math skills.

Many of the contractors I know, from carpenters to electricians to concrete workers, tell the same story of having difficulties finding workers who are competent in math.

Our entire financial sector needs to be efficient in knowing multiple areas of math in order to help us mortgage a house, finance a new car or plan for our retirements. You may have even witnessed cashiers struggle with how much change to give us back when it isn’t automatically calculated.

So as we sit back and think of the “boring” math classes and tests we all hated, just know it does serve a purpose.

If we turn our backs on it and don’t encourage a strong math skill set in our children, it affects us all in the end.

*Sarah Warry-Poljanski is a Mountain resident and an advocate for education reform and improving public services for children and youth.*

*If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800.*