It strains credulity that some people are actually arguing about teaching mathematics. Mathematics is certainly one of the most supreme accomplishments of the human mind. People need to both appreciate that and to be able to do some mathematics. What is needed is more research on fostering mathematical thinking.
Unfortunately, probability and statistics are two subjects missing from most high school curricula. This is a glaring lacuna as we have to deal with probabilities throughout our lives. Consequently, we need to have some facility in understanding probabilities and in making computations. Statistics is another topic we all need. Public policies, health, and scientific topics that lay people should understand require some knowledge of statistics. Trigonometry and calculus are subjects that are taught in high school, yet these topics are needed only in specific areas of study and professions. However, statistics needs to be understood by everyone.
Unfortunately, to understand statistics, one needs to understand algebra at least through quadratic equations. So any students who do complete introductory algebra should be required to take a course in statistics.
So what about students who do not take algebra? Research is required here to provide some rudimentary understanding of both probabilities and statistics without a facility in algebra. Perhaps this can be done through graphics and pictorial representations. Specific applications can be developed to this end. Perhaps students can be fooled into learning statistics via games.
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