Algebra II for H.S. graduation: Introduced in one state, axed in another?
I just read in the Miami Herald that Florida's governor signed a law on Tuesday to require Algebra II for high school graduation.
"By aligning high school diploma requirements with the needs of a 21st century economy, Florida is creating a business climate that will attract investment and the high wage jobs that come with it," said Patricia Levesque, executive director of former Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future.
Interestingly, just last week, the Detroit Free Press reported that, "high school students who struggle with math could, with their parents' consent, graduate without taking Algebra II as part of the state-mandated curriculum under a bill headed to Goc. Jennifer Granholm for her signature." Their Algebra II requirement had been criticized as being too strict, leading to more discouraged, math-challenged students dropping out.
Rep. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch, led the effort to offer high schoolers an alternative curriculum with such business-oriented math courses as statistics and data analysis.
"Those would be far more relevant to students than Algebra II ever would be," said Sheltrown after Senate passage. "If someone has very good math skills, then they probably should take higher-level math courses. I'm worried about those kids that don't have those skills."
What do you think? Is the Algebra II requirement too strict? Do you agree that some students do not have the skills to pass Algebra II in high school? Or would an Algebra II requirement raise expectations for students in a positive way and better prepare them for college?