Should Algebra 2 Be Required to Graduate High School?

Ingrid Everts 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. If you are trying to find out how many cookies were sold at a bake sale compared to how many brownies were sold you just subtract the left overs from the amount you started out with. You don’t need a complex equation with exponents or factoring, you need a good foundation. The most complex everyday math most people do is multiplication and division.

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However, there are many people that believe that without Algebra 2, our whole society will crumble and fall. This group will say that animators in Hollywood need it to create cartoons and C. G. I. effects in movies. ‘These are practical and reasonable instances in which someone would need the specific skill set acquired in an algebra 2 course,’ they would say. Algebra 2 should be a requirement because then students will be smarter. A woman commented on Andrew Hacker’s paper saying that “Under educated children are… doomed to frustration and failure in many aspects of life as they miss opportunities or take poorly calculated risks. I am in no way shape or form saying that math should be eliminated. However , I firmly believe that having algebra 2 as a required course to graduate will only be setting students up for failure. Also, if a student wants to become an animator or a graphic designer then sign them up for algebra 2. Students these days are already held to very high expectations, and piling stress on them isn’t going to do them any good. Even if students take algebra 2, that doesn’t mean they’re going to pass or be smarter. If you take a look at the bigger picture, it may even be detrimental to students that don’t particularly like or excel at math.

Having the skills that are taught in algebra 2 won’t help students get jobs as lifeguards or cashiers. The time wasted taking algebra 2 could be used to take courses that would help students get better jobs and better careers. After all high school is preparing us for the real world right? so why would we have to learn things that we wouldn’t need to use in the real world? Making algebra 2 a required course for graduation isn’t making students smarter, it’s causing students to not do well in classes and in the end not get jobs that they need and that keeps them from becoming contributing citizens.

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