Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Should Math in Early Education Become an Elective?

  1. Nov 23, 2013 #1
    Can I hear some arguments to why Math should be compulsory in education? I tried to think of some but the only one I could think of is: it helps with deductive reasoning. Are there any other arguments?

    On a side note, I thought this parody video was pretty hilarious:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Why should other classes be compulsory and math not? Obviously you think a mathematical education is lacking in substance in a way that an education in history or literature is not lacking.
  4. Nov 23, 2013 #3
    Honestly, I don't see why literature and history are compulsory. I can see why English is compulsory because it is necessary for communication.

    Why is anything compulsory? Why not just make it compulsory to complete a certain amount of credits to graduate?
  5. Nov 23, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Basic math is important to many aspects of modern life, especially in a capitalist society. And, as you indicated, math has a positive impact on higher reasoning skills.

    history gives you context of the current political atmosphere. It involves understanding the rights you were born with and what kind of behavior you should tolerate from your government and how you should involve yourself in the process of government as a citizen.
  6. Nov 23, 2013 #5
    I like Pythagorean's response.
  7. Nov 23, 2013 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Education was once available only to the wealthy, and even then only to men. The right to an education is something that is only recently (in history) something that has become available to all (at least in most countries). And you'd do away with most of it?
  8. Nov 23, 2013 #7
    I guess another argument that Math should be compulsory in early education is that if it is not compulsory, students will not get any exposure to Math, will never know if they like it or not, and therefore, there will be a drop in graduates in majors that involve Math.

    So here is my new question: why isn't programming compulsory in education then? Programming is very good for exercising logic problems.
  9. Nov 23, 2013 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It's a specific skill set that most people would not use. I believe that some schools offer elective courses for High School kids in programming. I do use at least basic math everyday, I have never needed to program.

    It appears President Obama is in favor of including it in schools.


    Outside of a basic overview to all, I could see it being offered as an elective to actually learn.
  10. Nov 23, 2013 #9
    I feel like the reason Math is compulsory is because of two main reasons:
    1. elementary math has applications to your every day life and
    2. it helps with reasoning.

    I feel like point 1 doesn't really explain why Math is compulsory in high school because the Math you use in high school does not apply to your every day life. Therefore, the main reason why Math is compulsory in high school is because of point 2. I feel, however, programming does a better job of teaching reasoning than Math.
  11. Nov 23, 2013 #10
    Even if you believe math is not important in daily life and doesn't help with reasoning (although it is), I think it is a very important invention. And the purpose of school is to pass on the current knowledge to the next generation, right?
    One can go deeper in the subject by selecting appropriate college but high school math should be taught and known by everyone.
  12. Nov 23, 2013 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Knowing how to count is very important.
  13. Nov 23, 2013 #12
    (or was it thirded :confused:)
  14. Nov 23, 2013 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Should this thread continue to exist? Should anything continue to exist? What does it really mean for something to be compulsory? What is math? 42.

    In conclusion: this thread is pointless beyond measure.
  15. Nov 24, 2013 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Math is necessary because we live in a quantitative world. We count things.

    Education must be compulsory because most children lack the maturity to decide what is beneficial in the long term.

    Programming comes well after math, science and humanities. It requires the ability to reason (part of critical thinking) and organize, and that comes with education, or it should.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  16. Nov 24, 2013 #15


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Math should remain compulsory in high school because it is required to get into college.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook