This article left me a little speechless. It upsets me that people actually think along these lines:
You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it. You will never need to know — never mind want to know — how many boys it will take to mow a lawn if one of them quits halfway and two more show up later — or something like that. Most of math can now be done by a computer or a calculator. On the other hand, no computer can write a column or even a thank-you note — or reason even a little bit.
Not just because I am a mathematician at heart, but because I really do believe that it is important. And useful. The author of the article goes on to say:
Almost 20 years ago, I wrote a similar column about algebra. Math teachers struck back with a vengeance. They made so many claims for algebra’s intrinsic worth that I felt, as I once had in class, like a dummy. Once again, I just didn’t get it.
I have to believe that the same will happen again.
[UPDATE] I think the thing that bothers me the most is the notion that there are math people and there are english people and that there is no middle ground. It bothers me that this man has convinced himself that he doesn’t understand algebra (or percentages), that he never will and that he doesn’t and never will need it. Furthermore, he is encouraging others to believe the same things about themselves. He seems to believe that there is something in them that prevents them from understanding almost half of the world.