Is statistics more relevant than calculus?

Here are a couple of big framing questions:

  • What skills and body of knowledge does a specific individual need to learn for him or her to be a contributing member of society?
  • And is it possible to learn the skills–like “how to learn” or critical thinking or quantitative reasoning or managing projects–in the context of a body of knowledge that’s relevant to doing something in the world, rather than knowledge that–in most cases–is an intellectual or academic or test-driven pursuit?

As one albeit narrow example of that, mathematician Arthur Benjamin suggests, in the short TED video below, building quantitative learning up towards statistics rather than calculus. Would parts of algebra fall in the same category as calculus?

What are your thoughts on the framing questions or pointers to others’  good thinking?


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