If someone were to ask me specifics on what I retained in school, I would likely have a hard time giving them. I never studied at all except in the classes that I really enjoyed, and I almost never ever did any assigned homework. Mom always told me I was always all or nothing when it came to pretty much anything. It was always just so difficult to focus on something that I either thought was stupid or boring.
It sounds immature but I also had a huge problem if I thought the teacher knew less about their topic than I did and I could be pretty disrespectful and avoidant. I still have that issue, if I dislike a subject I will calculate how many points I need to pass it and then I will do that amount of work and no more only so I do not waste money. It isn't really intentional rebellion, because although this might sound like an excuse, I really cannot focus on things that I do not find interesting at all. I just can't, and I do not see why getting an A is so important. Sure it is the schools semi-objective measurement of student performance, but so many fight for the A's it seems without actually absorbing what they have tried to learn.
Generally though, if I found a subject really engaging I would read, read, read, ahead and usually I could pull A's pretty easily. (Not trying to brag, it is what it is). Sometimes though, I would study subjects in whole that were either totally unrelated to the cirriculum, or subjects from previous semesters/years, or those coming up of which I could not wait to learn. Thats how I ended with a mediocre GPA, I did not learn what they wanted me to learn when they wanted me to learn it.
So I guess what I am saying is, it is ok for math not to be everyones favorite subject, but it seems to be a failure on the part of the school system rather than on the individual for the overall fear that is had for math overall. If schools weren't so focused on shoving as many courses as possible at students and as much material as possible in these courses, then the more time could be spent delving deeper into the roots of subjects and really expanding on what is to be learned from that. I do think that @21lux has a good point in that students should at the end of the day be the ones to decide what they learn based off their interests, but I would also push some sort of problem solving class (not necessarily algebra or geometry or whatever, could be a logic class or something else of the sort), because I really do believe there are skills, that a course like that could really help to develop. I don't really think that an equal education has to necessarily be the same education.
Anyways, if I keep typing I'll probably go back to repeating what I said a few posts before, but I do think that the education system, and especially the way that math is taught, needs a major overhaul. There are too many kids who drop out of school, and of course that is their choice and I respect that, but it just seems to me to be a huge huge failure on the system. Lol, this really has repeated itself.