Wayne State University, in Michigan, has suspended its requirement that all students take a mathematics course, "striking at the heart of a debate over whether math should be a mandatory part of general education," as reported by Maxine Joselow, in Inside Higher Ed.
The suspension is temporary until each department at the school decides which math course, if any, should be required for each major. It is expected the change won't alter curricula in disciplines that are heavy in quantitative subjects, but it might exempt students who major in the social sciences, fine arts, and humanities, the article reports.
Please read the piece for reactions involving various professional associations. Most commentary is predictable but is interesting nonetheless.
Many states, including Texas, do not require algebra for some majors, most recently adopting for certain students a pathway emphasizing statistics instead. Here is a link for background.
Some authorities think algebra is obsolete for many career fields. Those with long memories may recollect that, many years ago, some majors in Texas (including education) did not require any mathematics, if it was replaced by courses in another category such as foreign languages.
Wayne State is taking it a step further, or perhaps backward. It is one thing to customize mathematics, and another to eliminate the subject altogether as a general education requirement, if this is what ultimately happens. As one critic observed, we live in a data-driven world now, so you would think mathematics would be more important than ever.
But math is the primary core subject students often don't finish, with a negative effect upon overall graduation rates. This is undoubtedly a principal driver of policy changes.