Get rid of high school calculus to make way for computer programming and statistics, writes Steven Salzberg in Forbes.
With computers controlling so much of their lives, from their phones to their cars to the online existence, we ought to teach our kids what’s going on under the hood. And programming will teach them a form of logical reasoning that is missing from the standard math curriculum.
With data science emerging as one of the hottest new scientific areas, a basic understanding of statistics will provide the foundation for a wide range of 21st century career paths.
Most students won’t need calculus, Salzberg writes. Those who do can take it in college.
If a few top universities announced they value programming and statistics as highly as calculus, “our high schools would sit up and take notice,” he writes.
When my daughter was entering 12th grade, I suggested she take AP Statistics, which I thought she might be able to use in the future. The college counselor said AP Statistics was considered second rate. Elite colleges demanded AP Calculus.
My daughter earned a C in calculus her first semester. The counselor said she’d doomed her college chances. So Allison dropped the course to do an independent study on American poetry, was rejected by Yale, Brown, Penn, etc. and went to UCLA, where she earned an A+ in statistics. After two years, she transferred to Stanford, where she dabbled in programming. (“Everyone knows Java,” she said.)