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More civics — or more math, logic, stats?

The Babylon Bee‘s headline: “Electoral College Successfully Overturned, Buffalo Guy Selected as President”

Educators are prescribing more Civics education in the wake of the Capitol riot. Andrew Rotherham asks an intriguing question on Eduwonk: What if teaching Math, logic, probability and statistics is the most promising way to help “people resist misinformation as they navigate the fastest rushing and deepest river of information humans have ever experienced.”

The mob that stormed the Capitol “believed the election was stolen or were opportunists hoping to create chaos, launch a race war, or set up a white or Christian ethnostate – among other toxic and batshit crazy theories,” he writes. That’s not really about civics. It “seems like blaming a shooting on a lack of understanding of firearms laws.”

“You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts,” said Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Nowadays, we seem to be living in “parallel universes” in which ideology determines reality, writes Rotherham.

My friend Karim Ani has a book coming out about how math helps us understand the world. A core idea in it is that we tend to use life to teach about math – everyone remembers the questions about trains leaving two cities right? But actually, that’s backwards. Math teaches us about life. It’s all around us.

We need to find ways to disagree “more productively and less stridently,” Rotherham concludes. “Better quantifying our disagreement in common terms and frameworks grounded in actual evidence might be an essential first step.”

I’d love to see an argument-based curriculum. In all subjects, teach students how to support their ideas with observation, logic, mathematical analysis, historical knowledge (but is it true?), experimentation . . . Does that make any sense?

This post first appeared on Joanne Jacobs — Thinking And Linking By Joanne Jacobs, please read the originial post: here

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More civics — or more math, logic, stats?


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