The Associated Press story you ran on June 4, "Doctors say roller shoes injuring kids," is a fine example of why everyone needs to understand math and statistics.
All of the numbers provided in the article were given out of context and therefore useless for actually providing information.
That 67 children were injured over a 10-week period at one hospital in Dublin doesn't help me assess the shoe's dangers at all. Without indicating the size of the hospital or the community it serves, we can't tell if 67 is a large number of incidents or not. How does 67 injuries from Heelys compare to the number of injuries sustained when just walking/playing in general (or from roller skating while wearing the appropriate protective gear since the article later goes on to state that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends the use of safety equipment with heelys)? Without this comparative information, the statistics given in the article are, at best, useless and at worst, sensational and inflammatory.
This is not a defense of heelys as I don't really care for them.
More, this letter is to point out two things:
1) Journalism is in a sad state when the AP puts out sensational information without grounds and the papers (the Today and The Denver Post both picked up this story verbatim) run these stories without question.
2) One can only hope that the majority of Americans can understand that the statistics in this story are useless without context, but fear that most Americans did not receive the math education they need to know this.
I urge parents and teachers to read articles like this to their children, point out the flaws and discuss what statistics are necessary to make this information useful. Maybe if we do that, we will raise a generation who will write and publish useful and accurate information.