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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Con: Math as a GE

Unless a student chooses a STEM career, requiring an  Engineering, Math or  Science major , the  question becomes, “what are the odds the average person needs to know how to solve a Trig or Calculus problem?”

This is a question many  academic institutions must assess, in determining adequate math class offerings and requirements that align core knowledge and skills with relevant competencies needed in current times.

Beyond basic arithmetic, students don’t see the value or necessity ,advanced math classes can contribute to their everyday life, employment and income opportunities.

Developing critical thinking and practical application skills is the intention of a well rounded subject education.

English classes, teach how to read, comprehend, and express ideas and opinions in an organized, clear written form.

History classes teach the historical relevance of societal development and world events. Science classes build deductive and inductive reasoning skills.

Economic classes develop an understanding of the financial principles that control the flow and connection of money and jobs between local, national and world economies.

Humanities classes builds an, appreciation and discretion for the visual and performing arts, and their influence on cultures.

But beyond basic arithmetic, how practical is it that one is going to use Algebra, Geometry not to mention Trig or Calculus to basically function, build a career or grow their income?

Social Science, Business and Management, Nursing, or  Fine Arts careers offer good career opportunities and income potential and they don’t  require substantial math skill.

Technology, has made it so convenient, many people don’t do, nor think through basic arithmetic calculations.

Everyday math calculations, once done on paper or in one’s head are now done faster and easier by a computer, calculator or mobile device.

Ironically as Technology becomes more pervasive in the fabric of everyday life, there’s an increased need for the number of people educated and trained in STEM disciplines.
However the consequence of this pervasiveness, is that technology has created such widespread conveniences, there’s an ever growing number of people who can adequately function day-to-day without even minimum math aptitude skills thus reducing the need for a general math elective.

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