As I finish of my last quarter of community college, I have been very distressed that I won’t be able to graduate. My GPA is 3.7, and I have done well in all my classes with few exceptions. That exception is math. I’m horrible at math. It’s very difficult for me to grasp and very stressful. Always has been. I hate it. Always have. Which is why I will go out of my way to avoid any career that requires math. Yet I needed it to get my AA, and will need it for my Bachelor’s. I’m a history major! I have no need to know what 9x(2-6) + 7x(3-y) = 189 is!
Actually I do, because the eggheads who decide what classes everyone needs to take for degress think I should. This is because the whole system of degrees is based on an antiquated ideal of well roundedness that has little place in today’s society of specialization. They are stuck in the time of Aristotle and da Vinci when it was expected you be an expert in a wide range of fields. Such expectations have long outlived there usefulness, so they should be done away with in favor of more practical requirements. I see no reason why a history major should waste time learning math that will never be used after the class is passed. The reverse is also true, a math major shouldn’t have to waste precious time on history classes they not use after the classes are over. That is time that could be spent taking more classes that would actually be practical for the major, yet the academics who make all the rules just don’t get it. Now there are so many fields and subdivisions in any major topic, so science isn’t just science anymore. Marine biology and astrophysics are both fields of science, but most people choose one or the other. One classmate of mine is going for a child education career, and has impaired vision. So not only is math not practical, it is extremely difficult. She said that she must do all her math on a whiteboard tilted in the direction where she can see! That is because it is people of privelage who decide what all of us lowly students need to take.
My English and sociology professors agree with me. Both of them said they were in my same situation, doing excellent in college but being held back because of math. It gets better, both told me that now they never use any of that college level math at all! And they agreed that degrees should only require classes what will be useful to the major. But they are at the community college level, so their opinion is unlikely to shift the paradigm. The notion of universality is deeply embedded in American education, though I don’t know if that is still the case in other countries.
I guess I’m just the victim of an antiquated system, and I’m not the only one.