Some of you may have seen the recent opinion piece "Is Algebra Necessary?" in the New York Times (spoiler: the author concludes that Algebra is NOT necessary). It's definitely worth a read. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/sunday/is-algebra-necessa... .
Considering that this social network was built for an Algebra PD program based on teaching every student Algebra, we should be sure that we can justify and defend the need for all students to complete Algebra. So I'm wondering how you would respond to this. Should EVERY student have to take Algebra? If so, why?
While the author does point out some legitimate problems or concerns, there are a lot of reasons that I disagree with his final conclusion. One I'll focus on that is particularly upsetting to me is the argument that Algebra is a difficult subject and a stumbling block for many students. Since when is something being hard a reason not to do it? Isn't that the opposite of the kind of work ethic we generally try to instill in students? I am continually amazed at what a bad wrap math can get in the media. I can't imagine this argument being made against any other core subject area. English and grammar are too difficult for a lot of students, so we should really stop requiring everyone to do it. If Algebra is a stumbling block and the content feels irrelevant, then let's focus on better teaching and making Algebra more relevant instead of just giving up. Thankfully, finding more effective and relevant ways to teach Algebra is the focus of this whole site.