Core Education: Advanced Mathematics vs. Business
“Why am I learning this?”, “I’m never going to use this ever again.
“, and “This is a waste of time.” are just a few of the statements High School students around the country ask themselves every single day. No matter your passion for Pythagoras or your enthusiasm for arithmetic, the true reality is that the majority of high school students will very seldom (if not at all) use topics such as imaginary numbers or trigonometric identifies again in life. In the rare occurrences that they do, today’s world allows quick access to the Internet, and even with a calculator an answer is only a few clicks away. Furthermore, unless you have a truly exceptional memory, and even if you did perform exceptionally in High School math, chances are you’d forget the topics you learned far before you would ever need to use them again, given the rarity of usage. Therefore, why should American High School students be forced to learn the more inapplicable and abstract forms ofmathematics? At the end of the day, abstract mathematics is what the majority of students struggle with, and are often considered to be the least applicable in every day life.
For students who feel such subjects are not worth while, the ability to take a business or finance class in its place should be offered,given they meet certain requirements and understand possible consequences. Offering business classes as an alternative will prove beneficial, as students will learn applicable skills and become more economically conscious. In itself, Mathematics is possibly the most fundamental building block of student intelligence and understanding. Granted, advanced topics such as PreCalculus, Calculus, and Algebra II can be very useful when it comes to developing reasoning and logical skills and trying to enhance one’s understanding of mathematics. However, the many inapplicable lessons in such subjects are often regarded as vague and pointless. Students often feel that what they learn in advanced mathematics is a waste of time, but business oriented classes can prove very beneficial and rewarding; even for the future.
In these classes, students may learn topics they will use endlessly throughout their lives, such as stock evaluation and accounting ratios, and by taking it as a core class, they will still have room for experimentation in electives. Students going out of their way to join business classes will make better usage of time, and feel more passionate about the subject at hand. However, allowing students the option to replace what are today’s core classes would not be a simple step, and therefore students should be aware of provisions that would put in place in such a system. Students would be responsible for knowing the mathematic materials covered on standardized tests, and having a basic knowledge of High School Mathematics topics (up to Algebra I and Geometry). After all, simple forms of subjects such as geometry can actually be quite helpful, as when it comes to moving furniture or even when architects draw plans.
Combining life skills with mathematics, core business classes would also prove beneficial to students both in math and business. If the option was available, math classes would become smaller, integrated classrooms filled with students who are passionate about the subject, just as economy/businessclasses would become. Furthermore, many feel that one’s skills in advanced mathematics are based on intelligence, while business classes, not as complex, will be easier to understand by a majority. Some may argue that students will simply come to view this opportunity as a way to get out of mathematics, but that statement itself proves the claim that students would rather spend time in another class. A school system where the complex realm of advanced mathematics is one of optional entry would be based on individual choice, and although not every individual is willing to the right thing, giving ambitious students the ability to study subjects that are proven to help them throughout their lifetimes, is a power that will create a more economically aware nation, and give students educational freedom unlike never before. However, the question arises, “If Mathematics can be replaced, why can’t any other core subject be replaced?” In brief, business itself is a math class, one unsuitable for developing elementary or middle schoolers, but fitting as a high school elective.
Instead of forcing students to take mathematics they find uninteresting and useless, business is a suitable alternative that still retains mathematic principles. Electives like theater or geography, though interesting classes, would simply not be fitting alternatives as they are not mathematically based. The idea of incorporating business rather than complex math is not aimed to eliminate mathematics, but to encourage math that students would find beneficial and useful. This junior year, I decided to take a business management and accounting class, and even though I am very fond of mathematics, in only 2 quarters of accounting I learned more life skills than I ever did in any other math class. To conclude, allowing the option to take a business class instead of an advanced math class would have many benefits.
Classes will become very integrated, and with more of a motivation to learn economics and business, students will become more financially cautious citizens, while at the same time still developing a mathematical education. If an adequate mathematical education is met, transferring students will learn skills they may have never expected to learn in a math class. Especially in modern America, where business is such a central part of infrastructure, even the slightest influx of students into business classes can have a tremendous impact on the future economy. Now that’s something you can’t learn from trigonometry.