Cooper ISD speaks about potential changes in school requirements
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
Texas high schools are one step closer to dropping Algebra II as a requirement for high school graduation. The state of board of education will vote to finalize the decision on Friday.
Eight years ago, Texas became the first state requiring most high school students to pass Algebra II. Since then, nearly 20 states have followed suit.
Some educational leaders argue that removing Algebra II from the list of required high school courses is watering down curriculum, even if the state does create new math courses for students to take in lieu of algebra.
Right now, many college students in West Texas have to take a remedial course to prepare for college level math classes.
South Plains College has more than 1500 students enrolled in a remedial math class, Texas Tech University has 54, and Lubbock Christian University has 15 students taking a similar class.
Lubbock Cooper ISD's Assistant Superintendent Dr. Macy Satterwhite believes Algebra II needs to remain a prerequisite for college and beyond.
"It is directly tied to college and career readiness. It is tied to how our students perform on the SAT test, the ACT test. So, if students are going to be college-bound, Algebra II is a very essential, fundamental basic course," Dr. Satterwhite said.
Keith Rogers is LCU's Associate Professor of Math and Chair of Physical Science. He agrees that Algebra II is foundational.
"If they come to college at some point in their life, not having Algebra II is really going to make their path through algebra that much harder because college algebra is the basic math class across the State of Texas for most degrees," Rogers said.
Others said the course is so difficult, many students drop out before finishing high school.
Some educators said if these changes are made, students will be able to focus more on career and vocational training.
"It will hopefully decrease the drop out rate so that students are enrolled in classes that are fun and exciting to them and not ones they are being told they have to take," said Clinton Gill with the Texas State Teacher's Association.
However, Dr. Satterwhite said the state's requirements are a minimum, and their school board has the option of making Algebra II a requirement to graduate from their district.
Students pursuing honors diplomas or focusing on coursework in math and science will still have to take Algebra II. The Texas Board of Education is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss last-minute changes.