A student of mine, a senior in high school, asked me “why do the years seem to go more quickly as I get older?” As a teacher of statistics, SAT prep, and every math throughout the high school curriculum, I had a simplistic mathematical conclusion:

“Your age and life is based upon complete existence. So, a full year of life for a 5-year old is exactly two-tenths of the child’s life. Equally, that amount is 20 percent of the child’s existence. Furthermore, a full year of a 20-year-old is 5 percent of the child’s existence. So, the more you live, the less the year becomes a percentage into your life. Thus, each year goes by more quickly, because each year is a smaller percentage to your entire existence. And therefore, each year goes by more quickly than the last because this year is a smaller percentage of your life.”

In contrast to the future, this also means that the percentage of life for a child is that much more crucial. We can not stop educating children. If a fourth-grader were to be out of school for a quarter of the year (which is going to happen), then the student would lose a quarter of a 5-year educational career (K, then first to fourth), which is 5 percent of the education. Small number, 5 percent, yes; but how much will that limit our progress? To make things worse, the lag time in education would actually put the student a half year (at least) behind the typical educational growth.

If you want to talk market value, this number suggests that the percentage of regression is between the 25 percent school year cut from a kindergarten student to the 2.08 percent cut of education to high school seniors. Statistically, the percentage of loss decreases as the grade level grows: as a kindergartener, the student will lose 25 percent of his or her entire education; whereas a senior in high school, the student will lose 2 percent of his or her entire educational career. A vast difference, no doubt. But, neither percentage should occur. No student should be stripped of learning.

We need to agree upon the progression of education, to encourage students to learn regardless of the circumstance, and to warrant curiosity and answers. If certain things will progress from this pandemic, it will be creativity, knowledge, and an abundance of educational progress. To let a student flounder like the stock market is insane. Keep education going! Education, itself, will need to change.

John Zangari-Ryan lives in East Buffalo Township.


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