Educators always working against common misconception!!

As I was perusing my Facebook feed, I came across an interesting post from an old friend, Ed:

  • CNN’s Michaela Pereira did a story today about which states have the “higher probability” of winning the Powerball based upon the historical percentage of winners. This drivel implies that people have a greater probability of winning based on the state they play in.

    The fact that this is seen as some level of insight into winning the lottery is beyond ignorant. It reminds me of my favorite bumper sticker “The Lottery: a tax you pay for not understanding math”

Ed is not a teacher but a engineer for Intel. I am so glad that He gets frustrated with a news report that is showing ignorance of math. It seems like a regular occurrence these days that new agencies misstate facts or run a story that improperly applies math principles.

The story, Ed is referencing, implies that someone has better odds of winning the Powerball jackpot depending on the state in which they live. When in fact,  The change of winning is fixed based on a how many numbers there are and how many there are to choose from, period. CBS news ran a similar story today too.

Simple stories like this one, seem harmless at first but the undermine the entire education system. Students are more likely to believe what they see on the news, than remember a lesson presented at school. Educators are always working against the common social misconceptions. Our media outlets need to do a better job in “informing” the public. Teachers often get the blame when students don’t understand concepts, shouldn’t we start holding all of our media outlets to this same high standard?

As a teacher, I often remind the students that anyone can be wrong, and that misconceptions exist all over our society. Fact checking from multiple sources is a must but does not always result in a “correct answer”. Just remember the next time you watch the news to be a bit skeptical, and check for common misconceptions.

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