I never was very fond of math. In fact – true confession – I did some pretty close research and fancy footwork to try to fulfill my two college math requirements in courses that were more conducive to my *ahem* right-brained tendencies.
Like most things in life, I now see the benefit of those detested math courses and am thankful that I was “encouraged” to take them.
Students at Wayne State University in Michigan, however, may not get the chance to appreciate their math courses in retrospect.
As the Detroit Free Press explains:
“Wayne State University has subtracted mathematics from the list of classes all students must take to graduate.
Up until now, students had to take one of three different math classes before they could earn their degree.
Now, depending on their major, students may be able to squeak through college without taking math. The university is leaving it up to the individual departments to decide whether math will be a required part of a degree's curriculum.”
The article goes on to explain that dropping general education requirements such as math is not unique to Wayne State; it's a trend other colleges have begun to implement. After all, when students experience an easier SAT exam to get into college, spend far less time studying, but still pull off a slate of A grades, why shouldn’t the reduction of difficult courses such as math be the next step?
But never fear. The abolishment of math requirements doesn’t mean that students won’t have any required courses to take. As Michigan Capitol Confidential reports, the University is planning to implement “a three credit hours requirement in diversity to the general education curriculum.” As the school document proposing this change explains:
“These courses will provide opportunities for students to explore diversity at the domestic level and consider the ways in which it intersects with real world challenges at the local, national and/or global level.”
Current rankings from the international PISA exam place U.S. high school students in 26th place when it comes to math. For those who may have brushed off such a horrible ranking with the expectation that college education will make up for any disparities, the news out of Wayne University should make them think twice.
As much as we love diversity in America, will the idea that it can and should replace the learning of factual knowledge eventually have disastrous consequances?
Image Credit: Ralf_H (cropped) bit.ly/1eBd9Ks
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.