### I Come to Bury Math, not to Praise it

I have no problem with the viewpoint that math instruction needs to improve, and that covering a lot of ground but only superficially is a bad idea. Plus all the standardized testing idiocy.

But I disagree with the “math should be an elective after grade 8” proposal. The point is not, as is suggested, to churn out a bunch of math majors. Math is the language of science, and people need to be math and scientifically literate — *that’s* why they should be taught math and science. If you don’t teach math, not teaching science necessarily follows. And there is no way to teach some science any way but superficially without math.

One could easily replace the math examples in that section with English and Shakespeare (or fill in your favorite novels), and much of it would read pretty much the same, and I don’t think that’s a selling point of the argument. The point of teaching English and Shakespeare is *not* because we expect all of our students to become literature majors in college. They take English because they have to be able to communicate effectively, and they study Shakespeare because culture is important, too. If people understood that math is a language, I think it would blunt some of these arguments. You don’t hear people arguing that little Timmy/Sally “isn’t wired for English” as an excuse for trying to get it out of the curriculum. Understanding math and science adds value to how one gives context to information and how one interacts with the world. It’s a necessary part of education.