How much math do we really need?

Certainly, not as much as they are throwing at students today.

Checkout this article written by Ramanathan, a professor emeritus of mathematics, statistics and computer science.   The column first appeared in The Washington Post.

Some interesting comments:

This is completely in sync with my comments on other articles regarding education — success has a lot to do with motivation. Some people naturally enjoy math, and are motivated to do well with it. But for others, making up phony reasons to try to motivate them is not very effective.

There is a very interesting Catch-22 w.r.t. math. To get into Engineering school and to get a degree in Engineering, you’ve got to do a lot of math, but ironically math isn’t used that much after you graduate. So, it is a hurdle you have to clear to get the job.

Now here’s the fun part: some people in government claim we have a shortage of engineers, and so of course they conclude more students need to study math. But it’s an artificial barrier!!! So, there’s a lot of effort to get people to work hard to clear an artificial barrier that is there in the first place to keep them out! LOL.

And Another (from here):

As I noted in my post, I find it hard to disagree with the professor’s logic, despite having taught math for twenty years. However, this is all part of a larger issue about the curriculum, and about school in general. We don’t seem to want to have a serious discussion about what is school for and what should students be learning in that relatively limited amount of time.
Instead, we just assume that the traditional subjects should be taught in the traditional manner. Kids need to learn some math but do they need it to be the huge part of the K12 curriculum (as measured by the amount the subject is tested) as it is? Does every high school student really need four years of math beginning with Algebra? Society says yes to both without even considering other options.