Our daughter is dyslexic with mild learning disabilities. She struggled with math since the first grade and she is still having difficulty in math as she enters high school. We were concerned about how we would handle her high school math requirements until we met with her principal last week to discuss her education. I had given the issue a great deal of thought and decided that something must be available other than algebra and geometry to prepare my daughter for her future. The principal must have been on the same train of thought because we both came to the same conclusion – – business math. We discussed several options regarding math requirements and realized that a practical business math curriculum would benefit my daughter far more than struggling through advanced levels of algebra and geometry. I am not proposing that schools not require advanced math classes; however, for students who clearly will seek a vocational education or not continue their education beyond high school, business math should be required to educate these students in math skills that they will use in every day life.
For example, Olympus High School’s Math 111, Business and Consumer Math, teaches students about balancing a checkbook, creating budgets and calculating business profits and losses. The description states that the course provides “a strong foundation in logical thinking and problem solving” so that students will have the ability to make good financial decisions. However, when I looked at the credit giving for this class, it is only one-half of a credit. I fail to see how you can cover enough business math to lay an adequate foundation in a class only worth one-half of a credit.
This class would be a great start to business math; however, more in depth classes to teach budgeting, mortgages, interest rates, credit cards, taxes, insurance, stocks, bonds, financial statements and retirement accounts need to be offered in our public school systems. Algebra and geometry are beneficial; however, students who do not intend to further their education beyond high school need practical business math skills to provide them with the knowledge they need to handle their personal finances. Furthermore, practical business math skills will prepare them for jobs and/or careers in such fields as banking, real estate, food service and retail.
I am a bankruptcy paralegal with over twelve years experience and I have seen first hand the number of people who would have benefited from four years of business math in high school. Instead, they were forced to take algebra and geometry as required classes to obtain their high school diploma. I am fortunate that my daughter attends a private school that allows us to structure an individual education plan that will benefit our daughter the most in her future.
I believe that, in addition to advanced math classes, business math should be added to high school math curriculums. Maybe it should be a required class for all students with advanced business math for some as well as advanced algebra and geometry for others.