Employers never mention polynomial factoring. But what about the higher level math required by the Common Core? Consider algebra II, the study of logarithms, polynomial functions and quadratic equations. Many states want to make algebra II a requirement for graduating high school. Yet, a stunning finding produced by Northeastern University sociologist Michael Handel (cited in a recent Atlantic blog) indicates that only 9 percent of the work force ever use this knowledge, and less than 20 percent of managerial, professional, or technical workers report using any algebra II material.