"I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation." – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009

Moody’s Mega Math Challenge Brings Dessert to America’s Education Table

It’s one thing to perform well in math in the classroom, but applying mathematical knowledge is another. It takes skills in problem solving, creativity, and the ability to perform lateral thinking. One of The Moody’s Foundation, Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, seeks to highlight mathematics in hopes of instilling greater passion, confidence, and enthusiasm for the subject and its related fields.

According to Moody’s CEO, Raymond McDaniel, the program “is an opportunity for students to… create modeling solutions to real-world issues.”

Although the Foundation’s emphasis is on mathematics, I feel the Foundation’s concept can extend beyond math and into education as a whole.

Thinking about what they’re trying to accomplish got me thinking about what I think our nation hopes its students get out schooling. So here is my answer, in my opinion, about the goal of education in America.

The goal of my education isn’t to simply memorize facts and formulas, but to apply them in innovative ways to the real world. I wish to walk away with a more open mind, the ability to think critically, the ability to self-analyze and analyze others, to ask and learn not the “what” but the “how and why,” to adapt and change in order to become who I want to be. I wish to be curious and satisfy my desire for knowledge, to stimulate my mind, to read between and outside the lines, over the fence and to the moon, to think laterally, vertically, use my left or right side of my brain as I please, to collaborate with others, communicate my ideas, to be innovative, to leave more than an ecological footprint on this world, but to make a significant, positive mark that says, “Alison Was Here.”

I ask you to take a step back and think about the purpose behind your education. You’ve been armed with tools and knowledge, rapidly building and refining them since age five; now what will you do with it? Ventures like Moody’s Mega Math Challenge push students to not just answer this question, but to actively demonstrate it. I think our nation needs more challenges like this to stretch students’ minds. There is a world that extends far beyond the classroom and I think having the opportunity to apply one’s knowledge and to problem-solve in the real world adds something significant to one’s education. You could say this concept Moody’s Mega Math Challenge embodies brings dessert to America’s education table—you may enjoy the main course, but it’s the dessert that really satisfies your cravings.

Interested in the challenge? Register for Moody’s Mega Math Challenge by February 24, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. EST!


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