It’s College Week at Slate: Click here for the thoughts of several prominent academics on improving undergraduate education, sometimes with the aid of a magic wand. I of course first read “Learn Statistics. Go Abroad” by K. Anthony Appiah. I completely agree with Dr. Appiah’s view that many college graduates can’t evaluate statistical arguments, leaving them unequipped to make informed decisions in areas such as public policy. He writes “So I favor making sure that someone teaches a bunch of really exciting courses, aimed at non-majors in the natural and social sciences, which display how mathematical modeling and statistical techniques can be used and abused in science and in discussions of public policy.” Again, I agree completely. But (as we’ve discussed here and here) teaching those kinds of courses is really hard, and probably requires that magic wand.
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