Math is a valuable tool to make sense of our world. It assails us from every direction: this morning's headline in the sports section in the Portland Press Herald for an

article comparing the New England Patriots to the Baltimore Ravens (using various unit rates and percentages).

Our world is changing so quickly that what we teach in math class may or may not be necessary in the world to come. Why Do We Need Math? a youtube

video uploaded on July 19, 2011, is already irrelevant. An example used is making change. In a world where cash registers automatically compute this amount and where most people pay with either a debit or a credit card, this skill is superfluous.

David Mumford and Sol Garfunkel stress the need to teach math for "quantitative literacy" in their August 24, 2011

op-ed piece in the NY Times. It is "the ability to make quantitative connections whenever life requires (as when we are confronted with conflicting medical test results but need to decide whether to undergo a further procedure) and 'mathematical modeling,' the ability to move practically between everyday problems and mathematical formulations (as when we decide whether it is better to buy or lease a new car)."

Ian Wylie in his

article of 8 January 2010 in The Guardian asks, "What will you be doing for a living in 10 years' time? The chances are it won't be what you're doing now, and it may be something that doesn't yet exist."

If we look at teaching mathematics as a means rather than an end in itself, it will never lose relevance. To learn math well, one needs to take something that is complex, break it down into digestible, meaningful parts and communicate this knowledge effectively. In essence, develop proficiency with the

Mathematical Practices of the Common Core.

These life skills transcend the boundaries of all subjects and will withstand the test of time for whatever career our students pursue.