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High School Math Should Just Be Timed Tests, Over and Over

Andrew Martin

In high school, I took four math classes over four years: Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, and possibly something called “Algebra II.” Since graduating, I have not used or thought about any topic from any one of these classes. What I do think about, on almost a daily basis, is how much I should tip my server, barista, hairdresser. How much gas can I fit in my tank? How much of my paycheck can I expect to get after taxes?


And I can’t do it. I can’t do any of these things, at least without the help of a little gray app on my iPhone.


We do not need to fill up high school student’s heads with parabolas and cosines and theorems. High school math should be, very simply, calisthenics for the mind. It should be daily practice with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Times tables. Mental math. Percentages. Over and over and over.


I’m never going to use geometry unless I want to go out of my way to make my yard work excessively complicated. I couldn’t even begin to guess the scenario I’d use calculus in. I genuinely don’t know what it is or what it’s for.


To be clear: I am an idiot. I am very dumb. But so are lots of people. So instead of filling all these poor dumb people’s heads with nonsense cuckoo terms that will literally be forgotten when the caps go flying in the air, let’s give them something they can use. Let’s see how fast they can get through their multiplication tables. Let’s run tipping simulations. Let’s add two and two, over and over again, until we feel somewhat prepared for life.

If you enjoyed today’s moot, check out Andrew’s website. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to Reach Out and Read, Andrew’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'High School Math Should Just Be Timed Tests, Over and Over' in the style of  Roy Lichtenstein, Andrew's artist of choice.*

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