“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” –Abraham Lincoln
Welcome to the modern metric movement in education!
Team Metric was established to challenge the traditional Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational practices and learning environment. We want to create a culture around STEM instruction which provides many opportunities for success and removes unnecessary obstacles. STEM curricula must move towards a greater focus and coherence; we believe that no change would achieve this goal more effectively than removing US customary (inch-pound) units from formal education. A Metric-only measurement approach to STEM education would provide a rational, science-based, true system of measurement to learn and build upon.
In healthcare, the misalignment between how the U.S workforce “intuitively” thinks (inch-pound units) and how it is required to function (metric units) in a stressful, rapidly-changing environment continues to produce injuries and fatalities from preventable medication errors, particularly in pediatrics. In fact, the founding of Team Metric began with a preventable medication error.
When my son was an infant, he was accidentally prescribed the wrong dosage of medication—either because of a weight-conversion error by the doctor or a label-unit conversion error by the pharmacist. I was not told why the mistake had occurred, just that I was correct in questioning the dosage and that it was “my job to always check.”
We were fortunate; I caught the mistake and my son was given the proper amount. However, many other parents and patients are not. Preventable medication errors happen more frequently than most people realize, both in and out of hospitals. For more details, visit the Institute for Safe Medication Practices; they have an aggressive position against customary units usage—formally and informally—in medicine.
Only two other countries in the world, Liberia and Myanmar, do not use the Système Internationale (SI) as their predominant system of measurement. In other words, 95% of the earth’s population formally operates exclusively in metric units. Meanwhile, U.S. schools continue to educate our children for achievement in a reality which no longer exists. In the 21st century global economy, even in the United States, intuitively thinking in customary units does not increase opportunity; it only inserts barriers of entry into the precise occupations labeled as critical to solve our immense challenges in energy, health, environmental protection, and national security.
Many people have asked why Team Metric does not support full metrication. We absolutely do! It is just not OUR mission. We believe that to tackle consumption, production, and education would dilute and diminish our chances of success. The fight for full U.S. Metrication is continued through other great organizations such as the U.S. Metric Association.