Free Markets, Free People


Math is Hard

Idon’t make any claim to being a math whiz, Michael’s kind comments of earlier today notwithstanding.  Throw calculus at me, for instance, and I’m just lost.  But, I do have a rather decent grasp of basic addition and subtraction, so I’m wondering how to parse this sentence from a Politico story on the Obama Administration and immigration.

Of all the students in 2005 who spoke a language other than English at home, 69 percent were Hispanic, 64 percent were Asian, and 31 percent were Pacific Islanders, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

I think that comes out to 164%, doesn’t it?

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11 Responses to Math is Hard

  • I’m guessing that what the reporter meant was that 69% of all the Hispanics responding said they spoke a language other than English at home, 64% of the Asians responding … etc. 

    Or maybe a large number of the respondents in the statistical sample were of Hispanic-Asian-Pacific Islander decent, thus many could be counted in more than one group?

    Similarly, maybe the study was corrupted by only interviewing Jose Pua’amallo Chiang several times and getting different answers?

    Maybe “education statistics” works differently from regular statistics? 

    Or perhaps the reporter was using base-16?

    Ermmm … that’s all I’ve got.  But I’m pretty sure it’s one of those.  I think the Jose one shows promise.

  • Dale FranksI don’t make any claim to being a math whiz…

    Then you may be perfect for an exciting new career in either journalism or the Obama Administration!

    • I hear Tim “The Tax Cheat” Geithner’ is having trouble staffing his team at Treasury.  But as Dale understands basic math, he may be too qualified.

  • Reminds me of South Park:

    “Half man, half bear, half pig…Man-bear-pig!”

  • Here’s the data table:
    http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/minoritytrends/tables/table_8_2b.asp?referrer=report

    I’m guessing that what the reporter meant was that 69% of all the Hispanics responding said they spoke a language other than English at home, 64% of the Asians responding … etc.

    Correct. I’m also fairly certain this isn’t an independent survey but rather a compilation of the data schools are required to report to the government.

  • In other news, 249% of the reporters reading this article failed to find anything about the math that made them the least bit skeptical.

  • Just keep recounting it until you get the desired result.

  • Its progressive math.

    How do you figure they came up with that budget and how to pay for it.

  • They say 8 out of 5 people are bad with fractions.

    Personally, I think it’s more like 9 out of 5. ;)

  • And these are the guys that’ll be weilding that same statistical prowess during the upcoming census.