As a mathamatician, I’m glad to see folks like Andrew Lih at Edge.org agreeing with me that calculus isn’t that important.
It’s easily the least applicable technical prereq distracting people from mastering the most in-demand branch of STEM: Computer Science. And although calculus obviously has some transferability to other fields, I’d argue that the transferability of calculus is lower than almost any other branch of mathematics you could name.
Sure, it’s an easy enough subject to teach. High school and college instructors know the curriculum well. And for a tiny minority of students, it’s an interesting abstract course to consume. But it’s mostly a weeder course… in a world where we could weed students with so much more generally valuable courses, like discrete math or computability.
I hope Computer Science programs start dropping calculus as a requirement and that high schools start focusing on more valuable higher math skills like discrete math, statistics, and linear algebra.