…ing over algebra, then what are they doing to get smart? You mean besides mastering practical math? Here’s a skill many Americans seem to be lacking: how to have a difference of opinion without pummeling their fellow citizen. And this too: critical analysis and how to apply it to a large scope of topics. False news wouldn’t exist if Americans were taught to carefully assess what they read, what they hear, and above all what they choose to believe. Rather than mandatory study of parametric equations, make mandatory the study of rational thinking. Make mandatory the study of ethics, of empathy and the human condition. Knowing how to present a rational, well-reasoned argument with respect for your listener benefits every human being, algebra does not.
I struggled with math and had to have tutoring when I took Algebra 1. I got along much better in geometry. Algebra 2 was a struggle and I decided to skip trigonometry even though my friends were taking it. I still got my B.A. at UCLA. What I really needed to know from algebra and geometry was covered in my eighth grade math class. I learned how to calculate area, perimeter, interest, and other practical things like gas mileage. We also learned basic formulas with practical applications in everyday life.
Today a calculator does for most students what we had to do on paper. Those who plan to major in the humanities should not have to take advanced math courses. Neither should they be required for high school graduation.