I tend to go one step further and believe that there are political/financial motivations for this "negative emphasis" on not just mathematical, but all forms of rigorous logical education.
Firstly, it can be seen as trying to appeal to the "will of the majority" and the popular discourse of inclusionism, thus making the less educated people content in their place and giving them the illusion that all skills are created equal. Indeed, the portrayal of education itself as 'eugenicist' and 'classist' mean that even the intention to go into further education can become stigmatised, especially to the "majority" which popular rhetoric have placed as antithetical to the "upper class's" whims.
This has the function of allowing political and business interests to leverage this lack of understanding to manipulate the population based on faux-mathematics and faulty logic. We see this happening every day, in areas such as the economy and counterterrorism, and it seems to be working well. "Facts and figures" are treated like holy scriptures, and even their logical inconsistencies are accepted without question - creating a docile class of proles that publicists (who all along knew the power of numbers and rhetoric) can easily manipulate for their own means.
This is why maths - and other forms or logical education is important in this day and age: it encourages people to be analytical, logical and find out answers to themselves, something highly threatening to the current politics of ignorance. Knowledge is power, folks!
(Disclaimer: I'm a Gender/Cultural Studies major, former straight-Maths student.)