Some Texas Students Will Take Algebra 2

The state’s Board of Education will require teens pursuing either an honors or math and science specialization to pass two years of algebra.

National Journal
Sophie Quinton
Nov. 25, 2013, 3:29 a.m.

The Texas State Board of Edu­ca­tion re­com­men­ded last week that Texas high school stu­dents pur­su­ing an hon­ors plan or a sci­ence- and math-heavy dip­loma should take two years of al­gebra to gradu­ate, the Texas Tribune re­ports. The pre­lim­in­ary re­com­mend­a­tion adds some clar­ity to a new state law that provides teen­agers flex­ib­il­ity for ca­reer train­ing and aca­dem­ic spe­cial­iz­a­tion.

Some busi­ness and edu­ca­tion groups lob­bied for the in­clu­sion of Al­gebra 2 — a course re­quired for col­lege ad­mis­sion — in all ‘en­dorse­ments’ that stu­dents can pur­sue un­der the new law. They wor­ried that deem­phas­iz­ing col­lege pre­par­a­tion could hurt low-in­come and minor­ity stu­dents — fears ad­dressed last week in Na­tion­al Journ­al magazine.

Two Re­pub­lic­an law­makers made a sur­prise ap­pear­ance at a SBOE meet­ing to re­mind board mem­bers why the Le­gis­lature had backed away from the math re­quire­ment. “The idea that we think as a board or a Le­gis­lature that every one of those 5 mil­lion stu­dents must have Al­gebra 2 to live the Amer­ic­an dream is fool’s gold,” Sen­ate Edu­ca­tion Chair­man Dan Patrick told the board, ac­cord­ing to the Tribune.

By re­quir­ing Al­gebra 2 in only two aca­dem­ic courses of study — which likely would have pushed stu­dents to take more math any­way — the pre­lim­in­ary SBOE re­com­mend­a­tion main­tains the flex­ib­il­ity law­makers sought. The board will is­sue its fi­nal re­quire­ments in Janu­ary.

Texas is among 17 states that re­quire Al­gebra 2, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.