Is higher-level math useful in daily life?


Maisie Smith-Zoh

Seventh-graders Kabeer Parmar (left) and Zoeb Izzi (right) work on homework for Algebra 1 Honors.

Is math useful outside of class? This question has been debated for years. Many students dislike math class because they think it’s not as useful as their other classes. Others think you need it every day.

According to, almost every career uses math in some way. However, says that outside of school, people don’t often need things like the quadratic formula.

“There are numbers everywhere,” said Mrs. Angie Cahill, a math teacher at RCMS. “I think a lot of people use math every day without thinking about it.”

Others believe that higher-level math isn’t useful outside of class.

“I think that higher-level math probably isn’t as useful as lower-level math,” said Hanna Kovacs, a seventh-grader on the All Stars team.

Hanna thinks that higher-level math courses should be reworked or replaced with an alternative, such as a class that teaches you about budgeting or taxes. These skills are currently taught in Family and Consumer Sciences, an elective class available for both seventh- and eighth-graders. However, many students will need these skills, and not everyone takes this class. The math classes in question do not teach these skills.

“I think that they should be electives for people who want to follow the career paths that require those classes. More options for taxes and stuff like that should be available so people go into life knowing how to do taxes and stuff,” she said.

Mrs. Patty Walsh, the science teacher for the All Stars team, agrees with Hanna.

“Some of the high-level classes shouldn’t be necessary for all students and replaced with more practical math, like things that we need to know about money every day,” said Mrs. Walsh.

Ms. Maitland Mann, the English teacher for the All Stars team, also believes that the core classes should be changed.

“What I would like to see is … the core math classes be reworked to highlight life skills such as budgeting and doing taxes,” said Ms. Mann. “I do not use most of the math I learned in school in my everyday life.”

On the contrary, others are adamant that they are essential.

“Mandating these courses really sets you up for life. Even though it may not seem you need math right now, in the future you’ll need it more than you think you will,” said Zoeb Izzi, a seventh-grader on the Trailblazers team.

Mrs. Cahill believes that math helps to build analytical skills and perseverance. 

“I think problem solving is a huge skill that everyone needs no matter what they do,” said Mrs. Cahill. “You need to be able to solve problems.”

Both students and teachers alike share the opinion that math builds important skills.

“I believe math is useful,” said Zoeb, “because not only does it teach you how computers are used—which are the future of our world—it also teaches you discipline.”

Still others are unsure.

“I think it’s both,” said Hanna. “It depends on how you view the class.”