While many students have rightfully come to question the value of a college degree in recent years, there are still a number of courses offered that can provide valuable skills for the real world, if they aren’t taught by a bleeding heart liberal.
Outside of the science courses that I was required to take for medical school, I managed to find a few courses that actually did provide me with skills that I utilize on a daily basis. These are skills that I would recommend all students have.
One class that I took outside of the sciences was a general statistics class. That class, while tedious and difficult, has proven to help me in ways I couldn’t imagine while in the midst of the course. I am now pursuing a graduate degree in epidemiology and currently use these skills in a number of my medical school classes.
Statistics, simply put, is “the branch of mathematics that deals with the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of numerical data.” It is used by tech companies in developing innovative new products, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in studying and preventing the spread of disease, and even by the Internal Revenue Service in determining who pays how much in taxes. In other words, developing a basic knowledge of statistics can open the door to many new career opportunities by providing valuable skills for the real world.
Unfortunately for students looking to garner an understanding of this invaluable skill set, Pomona College in California has chosen to revamp their only available general statistics class by infusing social justice themes into the curriculum.
Instead of “General Statistics,” students wanting basic statistical education at Pomona will now have to resort to enrolling in “Stats 58 Intro to Statistics with Lab: Stats for Social Justice.” According to a flyer for the course, topics covered will include global poverty, global climate change, environmental rights, labor laws, healthcare, and elections,” among others.
Unsurprisingly, many students have objected to the college’s decision to infuse social justice themes into a math class. One math major even complained that the college wouldn’t really be teaching real math in the class because of the influence that the social justice themes would have on the course.
“[If] you are studying math influenced by any ideology… it’s not math, “ the student told the Claremont Independent, who requested anonymity. “The beauty of math is that it is objective – it holds true regardless of culture, politics and so on. If you’re teaching social justice in a math class, you’re not teaching math.”
Speaking in mathematical terms, that student is 100 percent right. This decision will likely waste valuable class time on issues that students could pursue in other academic classes, if they felt inclined to do so.
Statistics is a tough class, involving mathematical calculations, usage of statistical software, and lots and lots of practice. Wasting a student’s valuable class time with lectures on labor unions or the unfairness of the electoral system will do absolutely nothing to provide them with skills needed to actually work through complicated statistical calculations and properly analyze the results, which at the end of the day, is what statistics is all about.
Of course, when math counters your ideology – let’s say diversity quotas or immigration numbers – it makes sense for the Left to usurp the only blind arbitrator of facts. Unfortunately, this creates an even greater disservice to students who, once before, could look to classes like statistics for a break from agenda-driven material in the classroom. R.I.P. stats.
John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute regularly.