In his new book The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions, political scientist Andrew Hacker proposes replacing algebra II and calculus in the high school and college curriculum with a practical course in statistics for citizenship (more on that later).
Only mathematicians and some engineers actually use advanced math in their day-to-day work, Hacker argues-even the doctors, accountants, and coders of the future shouldn’t have to master abstract math that they’ll never need.
I showed the book to my husband, Andrei, a computer programmer who loved math in school. He scrunched up his face. “People don’t use Shakespeare in their jobs, but it’s still important for them to read it,” he said.
“It’s not the same,” I told him. “Reading fiction builds empathy.”
“Math helps us understand the world around us!” Andrei replied. “Like how derivatives demonstrate change over time.” He smiled, and I could tell that for him, it was all clear and beautiful.