Some students Fail and have to retake algebra. Can’t have that. And it can’t, of course, be blamed on crappy teachers.
Supporters welcome the change as more in line with current practice, of schools offering two tracks of math for eighth-graders. But critics fear that the new standard will let schools avoid offering rigorous courses for all. They point to a report released last week showing that some schools are not placing black and Latino students in advanced math courses even when they’re prepared.
The change is controversial because success in Algebra I is the single best predictor of college graduation.
Supporters say the state has adopted a more practical and effective way of teaching math. The new standards recognize that not all students can pass algebra in middle school.
“You have a lot of kids who get pushed into algebra when they’re not ready,” said Mark Stolan, a math teacher at Quimby Oak Middle School in San Jose. “Not only do they struggle, which is demoralizing, then they end up having to take it again.”