A Quantitative Problem
After Kevin comes home from his three-hour calculus class, he sits down at his desk.
He looks at his teacher’s blog to find the homework he will need to accomplish tonight. “Problems nine through thirty on page ninety seven.” Of course, the one subject he can always count on to have homework for. And it’s the usual twenty plus problem workload. But why should Kevin stress? It is just a couple calculus problems, and it will be sure help him down the road in life.
Plus, he has statistics next semester, and he should be dreading that way more than calculus! He is not going to need those skills. This is not the case that should happen in college. Calculus is the study of how things change, but with a quantitative notion. It is the most complicated math style, and many people never use it in jobs later in life. In college, or in senior year of high school, we should learn statistics before calculus. We actually should not have to take calculus at all if not desired.
I know why we learn algebra, graphing, arithmetic and geometry, because these are simple, and can be applied in the real world. My three main questions are why do we learn calculus in college? Why do we learn calculus at all? When am I going to use calculus in an everyday job? When I grow up, I want to be either a sports player, be in the music industry, or be a sports agent/trainer, and I am going to need statistics. An example of when I would need statistics in sports is, if I was a baseball player, I would need to know how many strikes the pitcher throws compared to balls. In a real world scenario, if you are not a physician, businessman, engineer, or a mathematician, you are not going to use calculus. Lots of professors say we do not need calculus, or they say it is taught at the wrong time.
According to Arthur T. Benjamin of Ciudad de las ideas in Puebla, Mexico, “Calculus is the wrong goal for ninety percent of students. We’re now living in an age of information and data, and the mathematics that will be most relevant to our daily lives is probability and statistics” (Benjamin). Professor Arthur T. Benjamin is making a point here that probability and statistics are used a large amount in today’s society.
We need to know statistics to live in this world, not calculus. Another professor from Washington, Carl B. Allendoerfer concluded, “Calculus is frequently taught at the wrong time, by the wrong people, and in the wrong way. It is high time we gave this matter our urgent attention” (Allendoefer 482). Carl B. Allendoerfer talks about how calculus should not be taught as it is currently being taught.
On the other hand, there are careers that require calculus. However, “only five percent of Americans actually use calculus at their work” (Weissmann). The people who become physicians, businessmen, engineers, or mathematicians will be the ones to use calculus. An example of when an engineer would use calculus is if he/she were building a car, they would have to calculate the distance in acceleration for the car. These careers attract intelligent people who are able to understand calculus. However, that is only five percent of the work force.
There are plenty of colleges that require calculus and statistics. I have come up with a simple solution to this problem. The people who do not feel the need to take calculus should have an option to challenge themselves, and take the class. Or go straight to statistics and skip calculus. This way, we will not have college kids stressing out about math they will not need to use down the road in life.
Also, the people who are smart enough to do one of the four jobs, can take the course, and be successful in it. Then the rest of the world will be educated in statistics, a form of math they will actually need, because there are many jobs that need statistics. Examples of jobs that need statistics are science, business, government, sports, schools, medicine, environment etc. The list goes on and on. There are people who would argue against me in when I say that we need to learn about statistics over calculus, saying, “It is a math skill that everyone needs.
” Or they’d say, “You cannot change what is already being taught.” But think about it. “If every American learned statistics over calculus, people may understand the economy better, and it would be in great shape. If you don’t get what I mean by this, stocks control the economy. Stocks are measured by statistics.
If we all knew statistics, we would better get the concept of the economy” (Benjamin). Also, there would be so many people that would know statistics that it would be easy to find people fit for most jobs in America. Probability and statistics would help in everyday things, like understanding the stock market, predicting the weather, following sports team, figuring out how long it takes to get somewhere. People can make money from using probability and statistics in gambling. All this information leaves me thinking that we need to change the way math is taught in college education.
We should not stick with calculus as a core class in college, just because that is the way it has always been. We need to teach our students math that will help them succeed in life, and that is statistics. Statistics is used in most jobs daily, and we the people are going to need to know statistics to work. According to the great rapper Tupac Shakur, “You gotta make a change. It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes.
You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us, to do what we gotta do” (Tupac Shakur Quotes). That change is statistics over calculus.