Proposal: replace Algebra II and Calculus with “Statistics for Citizenship”

Cory Doctorow:

Andrew Hacker, a professor of both mathematics and political science at Queens University has a new book out, The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions, which makes the case that the inclusion of algebra and calculus in high school curriculum discourages students from learning mathematics, and displaces much more practical mathematical instruction about statistical and risk literacy, which he calls “Statistics for Citizenship.”

Hacker’s idea is based on a course in “civic numeracy” he’s taught for two years, in which students learn to use mathematics to understand current affairs: gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, spotting fraudulent tax returns, and so on.

I have a theory that you can track the rationality of a society by the number of people who play the lottery — and that a significant achievement for an education system would be to graduate a cohort who never bought a single lotto ticket. The rise and rise of Drumpf tracks pretty closely to those eye-popping Powerball jackpots.