A large majority of Americans think schools are placing too much emphasis on the wrong subjects, and more than half think they’re doing just a fair job in preparing children for the work force or giving them the practical skills they need to survive as adults, according to an Associated Press poll released June 27. So what do people think the schools should focus on? More than a third of respondents said math. English was a distant second, at 21 percent. A tiny fraction picked art, music, and the sciences, such as biology and chemistry. Parents might want more math in school because they feel unprepared to help at home, said Janine Remillard, who teaches math-related courses at the University of Pennsylvania’s education school. "Math is the subject that parents are often intimidated by," she said. "We’ve allowed a lot of kids to just say, ‘I’m not good at math,’ …. and those kids become parents." Most Americans think the United States is just keeping up or falling behind the rest of the world in education. Nearly all those surveyed say the quality of a country’s education system has a big impact on a country’s overall economic prosperity. Americans also have mixed views about standardized tests, which have grown in importance in recent years. About half of those polled said standardized tests measure the quality of education offered by schools well, while the rest disagree…

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