If you struggled with math as a kid or even as a college student, you aren’t alone. Many of us don’t excel in math. But it’s the one requirement forced on us in order to graduate from High School or to get into and graduate from college. But why?
I have been out of high school for almost 17 years and out of college for almost eight, and in all this time I have yet to find a use for the higher algebra classes I failed back then. Sure, I encounter situations where I need math, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, I can usually look it up.
Now, I’m not saying that basic math skills aren’t important. You should certainly know how to count, add, multiply, and divide and have at least a basic knowledge of fractions and decimals and measurements and such. But I feel that our education system puts too much pressure on students in this category for no reason.
I think parents and educators tend to have unrealistic expectations of students and this is why math is forced on us. They think students are all destined to be scientists, doctors, engineers, and the like, and these careers require higher math courses. But for many of us, those careers are not possible or even desired.
I think algebra and higher should really be reserved for those whose career choices and interests will require it of them. But for the rest of us, math classes should focus on practical skills that we will encounter in life. Things like how to handle personal finances, how to compare prices at a grocery store, and how to figure out discounts would all be far more useful than how to solve for y.
Just think of what else schools could fill in with all that extra time once spent on higher math. Things like learning how to live in a modern society, things like art, literature, music, learning about your fellow human beings and about how the universe works (science doesn’t always have to be taught using math). Or how about cooking classes, classes on life skills like how to pump gas or buy a car or how to pay your bills? No matter what career we go into after school, those skills will always be important.