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Parents often ask whether I think the higher math subjects are valuable. Do my children really need algebra, other than to get into college?
I am a mathematician and I have to admit that other than for math intensive degree fields (such as architecture, engineering, and programming) there is really no practical use for much of upper-level math. However, I have to say that learning just for the sake of learning is always good. I also stress the need to teach trigonometry to all who may enter a trade like carpentry and machining. It is invaluable.
I agree that much, maybe most, higher level math skills have little practical application to the ordinary guy. I struggled all my life with trying to learn and retain algebra and physics skills just to keep my Navy training courses and college grades acceptable. I honestly can't think of a situation I've been in that required that knowledge since then. Trig is a different matter. For some reason I got that and still find it useful in my woodworking shop.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|