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More Math in Schools
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I don't often comment on the news but recent reports of plans to make U.S.workers more competitive by emphasizing math and science skills in the schools were a painful reminder of my school days as a liberal arts outcast.

So far as I know, math and science skills have always been emphasized, or at least ever since Russia orbited Sputnik in 1957 and put the United States into a groundless panic. When I struggled with long division in the fourth grade I might as well have aiding and abetting the comrades in Moscow.

The school system I attended made it plain that while the arts were fine for kids to play at, grownups turned their attention to math and science. By the time I got to high school, I had to give up a study hall to elect an art class, and then my advisors made it clear that someone with my brains ought not be wasting his time on frivolous pursuits.

It wasn't that I disliked math and science. What scientists told us about the world fascinated me but I've personally always been more comfortable working with words and images than with numbers.

There is no need to further emphasize technological studies. We all have whatever skills we were born with and the government can't increase the number of us gifted in math and science by decree (and don't seem inclined to do it by biological engineering...)

If education were treated as a right, not simply a commodity that many individuals and communities can't afford, then we'd have plenty of scientists and mathematicians. And maybe some more people with a grasp of other subjects like ethics and history which this country needs right now at least as much as it needs more scientists.

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