I am a smart woman. Really, I've been tested! I make Very Important Decisions at work each day. I serve my community and am trusted with helping make the decisions that determine how the town I live in grows and develops. But 8th grade algebra can bring me to my knees.
I remember the basics. I have no problem with mathematical functions. And, it really isn't too hard to write and solve equations - if they weren't so ridiculous about it. After pulling my hair out for several minutes, we called Bang. He is a math whiz, but not so much a teacher. Luckily, Boom was also willing to pull herself away from her homework to help out (if you saw our tuition bill you would understand why I insist on envisioning my children always studying).
Boom and I got The Princess through it. But, I could tell by the look on her face that she didn't really get it - a look I know I had through most of junior high math class, and the word problems have gotten worse since then.
Those stories about Communist countries that see some natural talent in sports, and then they take a kid out of school and train them in their sport full time, with little other schooling...I can see the beauty in that. I don't think that The Princess is going to miss out on her life's calling if she skips algebra. I would much rather see a high school math track for non-math kids, that offers classes that will actually serve them in life. Instead of algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, non-math loving kids could take personal finance, budgeting, investing, and basic economics classes. Learning to read a HUD-1 Settlement Statement before financing a home, learning savings, tax strategies, ways to make your money work for you - all things that would help kids be financially responsible adults.