NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Citizen Numeracy Project Update

I attended the May session of the Citizen Numeracy Project at the Nevada County Library on Thursday. A project sponsored by the Nevada City Rotary Club. More details here.

I am planning on attending the June and final session. Dr. George Rebane and Dr. Ron Knaus did a great job explaining why we “should always question the numbers” in the newspaper, see on TV and hear on the radio. “Social issues are determined by the numbers,” said Rebane. As voters, we need to understand how our political leaders use “numbers” to capture our votes, and extort tax dollars from us for questionable projects. Long term studies by the Department of Education show the voting age population of the U.S. to be over 35% functionally illiterate and almost entirely inumerate. We are easy targets unless we have the tools to challenge the numbers we are feed by special interest groups.

My biggest disappointment was the small audience. The people who would benefit most were not in attendance. This would be great course for reporters and editors, in all media - newspapers, radio and video. With knowledge gained in these four session, they would be better equipped to explain the social statistics they present to us -- the consumer.

Maybe Dr. Rebane and the Nevada City Rotary Club would consider holding special sessions for our local media. I am certainly better equipped deal with social statistics after attending only one session.

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