Thought of the Day: Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.

As part of my data science self-study, I was reading Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking, and ran across the quote by H.G. Wells: “Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.”  Since I know many quotes (even those in textbooks) are at least partially apocryphal, I searched, and found the original quote to be:

The time may not be very remote when it will be understood that for complete initiation as an efficient citizen of one of the new great complex world wide states that are now developing, it is as necessary to be able to compute, to think in averages and maxima and minima, as it is now to be able to read and to write.

It is interesting that I found the full quote in a blog article about whether algebra is important to teach in school, and why the author believes statistics is important to teach (at least parts of stats).  I too agree with part of this,  and this is actually one place where the Common Core is likely to have a positive impact, because it suggests it might be better to have “Integrated Math” more than a traditional Algebra I course.  Further, all of the standards have more statistics and probability in them than previous curricula often did.

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