A very interesting article from a CUNY professor who advocates that we eliminate variable algebra for a good majority of graduating highschoolers and college students who might go into humanities, etc. The problem, the author opines, is that math is difficult and discourages people from continuing on through school.
I must say that this author is correct on the surface... math probably does discourage a lot of people from continuing in school.. but it isn't math's fault, it's our culture's.. in the United States, we simply do everything we can to tell people that math is difficult ("Oh, I HATED math when I was in school!), that it's a subject for "smart" people, and that you're special for excelling in it (there's no reason everyone can't be in Calculus I by the time they're about 14). We put children who are a grade or two ahead of their peers in math in "gifted" classes, when, in reality, they're still behind what they're capable of doing and what other countries simply demand of their children at that level. The way we teach math and think about math in this country convinces everyone--teachers, students, parents, etc.--that math is somehow specialized and that only a select number of people can accomplish it--total bunk. The amount of calculus it takes for us to catch a ball thrown at us, to correctly merge onto the freeway, to correctly vacuum a room in an efficient manner is more than I've ever studied, yet we refuse to acknowledge that human beings have these abilities built-in to their being. In many countries, you don't do math because you're smart, you do it because it can be done....
From time-to-time I find interesting articles about the state of universities, the field of history, etc. I'll post them here just in case anyone else is interested.