How Much Do We Need Math?


Hayden Zeller

What if I said most Americans never use complex math during their job. You might say that is crazy and there is no way that is true, but for most Americans it is. According to about 86 percent of jobs require simple addition and subtraction. So why is it necessary to learn all these math skills when we barely use any of them?

I am not saying we should throw away all math, but we honestly don’t need most of it once we get out of elementary school. Math is very vital to the brain. It makes us think a certain way, and it also trains our brains to think effectively, so we still need math in our schools but do we really need to learn calculus or other complex math if we are not pursuing a job that requires it or doesn’t use it?

So the question is how many jobs require complex math? According to The, as little as five percent of jobs actually use calculus and around nine percent use complex math. Most of that five percent of calculus jobs are filled with different types of engineers such as aerospace engineer of industrial engineer. So, if you want to be some type of engineer that is fantastic. Go ahead and stop reading this, but if you are the other 95 percent I would not.

We need a solution to this problem of requiring our students to take these highly advanced math classes when they already know what they want to pursue doesn’t require them. Or that the math that we are putting in front of our students has little relationship to the vast array of jobs and the demands for jobs on the market. Isn’t that what school is getting you ready for though? Aren’t all those complex math classes going to help you get in front of everyone else? I am sorry, but unless you are part of the 14 percent, your job is not going to use most of that math that you learned throughout most of your life. It might help you think a different way than your co workers or make your brain more effective, but the actual math, nope.

What can we do to change this? We can change the requirements for math, have optional complex math classes but still have to take basic math throughout. We can put different things in front of our students in math classes that will actually help them in a job. Let’s stop learning these different math equations when we need problem solving math that makes our brains think differently or creatively. The solutions to these problems are there, it will just be hard to make people think differently when they’ve been taught these things through what has probably been around six years of their life.