## by A. W., Palo Alto

During study hall, unsure students discuss among each other: “What did you get for question 5 on the physics worksheet?” Others have already given up on their engineering homework and have stooped to consulting the answer key. CS students post their questions on Stack Overflow, having completely run out of ideas. These students all have one thing in common: a lack of experience and skill in math. To fill this hole in students’ knowledge, high schools should teach math for all four years because it is essential for jobs and is difficult to learn alone.

We should help students by teaching them math because it is a key component in high-paying professions. Jobs like chemist, software engineer, physicist, and engineer all revolve around math. Without proper knowledge in math, future adults might have trouble finding employers who are willing to hire them. Instead, they would have to resort to uninteresting labor jobs like cashiers, factory workers, or McDonald’s workers. The jobs related to math not only offer variety and engagement to an employee but also offer money. The average software engineer has a salary of $114,000 a year. That’s double the salary of the average American. The story is the same with other jobs, too. Architects, who use math every day, for example, can earn around $122,000 a year. In short, these jobs that require math are a departure from tedious, repetitive tasks that many uneducated employees must perform to make a living. This and the fact that these jobs offer increased salaries emphasize the need for four years of math instruction in high school.

Many students neglect math because of its difficulty, but for their own benefit, we must require them to learn the subject. This difficulty might dissuade them from taking advanced math courses in high school. However, despite the difficulty, once a person has learnt math, it becomes an invaluable tool later on in his life. Thus, if we want our students to succeed instead of giving up, we must require them to learn math for their own good. Requiring students to learn math in schools also improves the quality of math classes by including those who struggle with the subject, forcing teachers to improve their explanation skills. Thus, both strong and weak students can benefit from four years of required math.

Critics of mandatory math in high school might argue that math is not for everyone. They say that some people just inherently struggle with it, so they should not have to learn math. However, even if somebody struggles with math, she should still learn it, as it’s used often in daily life, from adding up the numbers on a receipt to prevent scams, to using a bit of algebra to calculate the number of apples she needs for exactly 3/4 of a recipe of pie. If these students are unfamiliar with math, they will struggle not just in work but in daily life. Therefore we must require students to learn it despite their struggles.

Schools should require mandatory math because of its frequent use in profitable jobs and daily life. Students who learn math will have overall happier lives as they will enjoy higher salaries and be better problem-solvers, helping them eliminate stress and setbacks. Though students are often discouraged from math because of its difficulty, we must force them to learn it for their own good and the good of society. With more people educated in math, humanity and science can advance faster. This advance of human society is more important than saving schools’ money by not teaching classes and students time by granting them the time that would have otherwise been used for math. Thus, to improve society, high schools should update their math policies.