A Dose of Old-School Education

mathishardby baldilocks

It was difficult to believe at first; that there are functioning adults who don’t understand the difference between raw numbers and rate.

However, since I found out that children aren’t taught anymore to do things like write in cursive and since I found out that there are young Americans who cannot identify the United States on a map, I’ve pretty much figured out that K-12 schools are, for a significant part, just glorified day-care — and from what we’re seen in the last few weeks, that day-care can last well into higher education.

So you pay the government to educate your kid and it doesn’t. Then you pay thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to some college/university, and all your offspring learn how to do is to refine their whining skills.

But you come here to Da Tech Guy blog and I’ll give you and your kid something useful.

Here’s your mini-tutorial on how to calculate the rate of a group and how to compare two separate rates.

  • Say you have a group of 1100 composed of 1000 Chinese and 100 Russians.
  • 200 of the Chinese are murderers and 50 of the Russians are murderers.
  • Therefore, in our sample, there are more murderers who are Chinese than those who are Russians in raw numbers.
  • However, the rate of Russian murderers is higher than that of Chinese murderers. How is that calculated?
  • Chinese: 200 divided by 1000 = 0.20=20%
  • Russians: 50 divided by 100 = 0.50=50%
That means that there is a higher rate of murders among the Russian part of this fictional group than there is among the Chinese part.

Lots of people don’t get this, even a few who were educated before my time. However, some of us were paying baldilocksattention during eighth grade math class.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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