Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The importance of math

Awhile back a Richard Cohen wrote a column for the Washington Post. He challenged the assumption that high school students needed to take Algebra. He claimed that for most students there were few reasons to master something as basic as Algebra. He said: "You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it."

This got a lot of discussion in the blogosphere. (Some of which wasn't clean.)

I disagree with Richard. My BS is in Physics. I took over a dozen math classes, starting with calculus. I have found that all this math has improved how I look at the world.

So in contrast to Richard’s column, it was nice to come across a list of reasons why high school students should study math in high school. The list has twelve good reasons, with a paragraph about each reason. My two favorite reasons were:

Choose math because you will make more money.
Choose math because you will lose less money.

If you have any doubts about the importance of students working to master math, go check out the list.

(Hat tip:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another "What's the point of math?" article was written by Tom Magliozzi, one of the "Click and Clack" guys you hear on NPR's car talk. The title of his article is, "Who Give's a Rat's Patootie About High School Calculus?" You can find it on the Ohanian website.

What belies these attitudes is the philosophy only that which earns you money is what makes an education. A well-padded wallet is a well-trained mind by definition.