The subject “Algebra” in education is the one course that is most likely to keep students from graduating high school or getting a college degree, according to statistics.
Algebra is the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. And most argue that “algebra isn’t really even used in our daily lives. So why study it?”
This is the debate that’s happening right now across the United States.
Sixty percent of those enrolled at American community colleges are required to take at least one math course. Nearly 80 percent of those students never finish that requirement.
Some argue that algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.
So does this mean we should lower the standards solely to ensure more ‘minorities’ get in??
That’s the exact argument Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, has made in an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California Community Colleges System argued against forcing students in college to learn algebra. It’s a “civil rights issue,” said Oakley. Basically the argument is that if college was easier, more black people would have college degrees. Wow.
“This is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans — particularly low-income Americans. If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy — which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential — the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential,” said Oakley.
He argued against this just being a way to make college easier. “I hear that a lot and unfortunately nothing could be farther from the truth. Somewhere along the lines, since the 1950s, we decided that the only measure of a student’s ability to reason or to do some sort of quantitative measure is algebra,” he said.
“What we’re saying is we want as rigorous a course as possible to determine a student’s ability to succeed, but it should be relevant to their course of study. There are other math courses that we could introduce that tell us a lot more about our students,” he said.
Is he implying that ‘lower income’ families are less educated, therefore…less capable?
These are some seemingly racist speculations, don’t you think?