What grinds me the most is that we’re sending kids out into the world who don’t know how to balance a checkbook, who don’t know how to apply for a loan, don’t even know how to properly fill out a job application, but because they know the quadratic formula we consider them prepared for the world?
With that said, I’ll admit even I can see how looking at the equation x – 3 = 19 and knowing x = 22 can be useful. I’ll even say knowing x = 7 and y = 8 in a problem like 9x – 6y = 15 can be helpful. But seriously, do we all need to know how to simplify (x – 3)(x – 3i)??
And the joke is, no one can continue their education unless they do. A student living in California cannot get into a four-year college unless they pass Algebra 2 in high school. A future psychologist can’t become a psychologist, a future lawyer can’t become a lawyer, and I can’t become a journalist unless each of us has a basic understanding of engineering.
Of course, engineers and scientists use this shit all the time, and I applaud them! But they don’t take years of theater arts appreciation courses, because a scientist or an engineer doesn’t need to know that The Phantom of the Opera was the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. Get my point?
The board of education should sit down with universities and high schools alike and create options for students. Let us take business classes that substitute all the same credits as algebra. I guarantee a semester of learning how to start a small business would benefit people much more than knowing: ax^2 + bx + c = 0