Mrs. Browne

AP English

November 12, 2012

Should Algebra 2 be Required to Graduate High School? Every day, millions of high school and college students have to struggle through algebra in order to graduate. Having the ability to do mathematical equations will always be an important skill to have, but honestly, if you can’t solve ([3x - 3x^2 +1] ^744) x ([- 3x + 3x^2 +1] ^745) it doesn’t mean you won’t be successful in life. All it means is that you probably weren’t the best algebra 2 student in high school. “…One in four ninth graders fails to finish high school.” (Hacker, 2) Andrew Hacker, a professor of political science at Queens College in New York and co-author of “Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids - and What We Can Do About It.”, states the reason may be the algebra 2 courses we are forced to take.

The class schedule we run on now only allows for two elective hours. That means the other four classes we have are the general credits and are required for graduation. We don’t have time in our schedules to take classes that would help us get into colleges to get degrees that we want. If a student wants to take a business management course to get into a business college but can’t because the state requires them to take gym, health, one year of applied arts, and two years of a foreign language, that only leaves them three or four elective classes in their whole high school career. That student wouldn’t be able to fully expand their knowledge on the field of study they want to go into. “Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent.”(Hacker, 2)

“…The math we learn in the classroom has no relation to the quantitative reasoning we need on the job.” (Hacker, 2) When will the average person actually need to use the quadratic equation? I know that I will never use it in any job I have, so what is the point to learning it? Algebra isn’t critical for day to day decisions.