Why low percentages of American students are lacking interest in STEM subjects in high schools and universities is no mystery. These low percentages are based in what I feel is a serious American problem — we still cling to the old English system of measurements.

Even simple calculations in temperature are confusing. Guess what, water freezes at minus 32 F and boils at plus 212F. Can't we just use zero and 100C degrees instead? Can't we just do away with all the converting?

Most students today learn metrics to some degree. The problem is twofold: First, learning our measuring system from infancy to teens, then being faced with conversion throughout a lifetime. Or, as I did, forget science classes and revert to miles, yards, feet and inches. Second, in order to fully accept metrics as a nation, there needs to be a total cultural and legal adoption.

Totally adopting metrics would be difficult and we might struggle for a few decades. But it would also be a great gift to our grandchildren and those that follow. The problems surrounding STEM subjects would greatly diminish.

Wayne Overson