by Donna Krache, CNN
(CNN) In an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, Professor Andrew Hacker asks “Is Algebra necessary?”
He answers that question “no.” Hacker says that algebra “is a stumbling block for all kinds of students” and that it takes a toll on both high school and college graduation rates.
He says that while the study of math is important, “…in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above.”
The question of whether or not to teach algebra sparked a lively discussion on Monday’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.
CNN education contributor Steve Perry says for students of historically disadvantaged populations, algebra “does present a real barrier” to graduating college because “too few take requisite number of math courses.”
Perry acknowledges that “Algebra is a gatekeeper,” but adds “I don’t know that it’s necessary for every child." He says that we need to get away from “one-size-fits-all academic experiences.”
“We need to create more compelling academic experiences that children are more connected to,” says Perry.
He says that colleges and the SAT measure algebra. “But is what we’re teaching the best way to ensure we’re getting the best from every child?”
What do you think? Should schools be teaching algebra? Post your thoughts in the Comments section below.