Incoming high school freshmen in the state of Texas are no longer required to take algebra II as a mandated math course.
Public education in Texas is regulated by three separate entities: the state Legislature, Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education.
As the state’s elected representatives, the Legislature determines all graduation requirements for public schools in Texas.
According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, “the state Legislature approved the change in May, even though Texas’ higher education commissioner, Raymond Paredes, said removing mandates for advanced math and science would leave more students ill-prepared for college and technical careers.”
The state legislature has built new graduation plans in replacement of the plans that have been in place since 2006. These plans are known as the foundation plan and the endorsement plan.
The foundation plan requires 22 credits to graduate, while the endorsement plan requires 26 credits and have five different “stems” or routes to graduate by.
Dr. Audra Ude, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction of Abilene Independent School District and ACU alumna, said reasons still exist for high school students to take the course.
“Essentially, students who take an endorsement are required to take algebra II,” Ude said. “Also, if a students wants to be in the top 10 percent and have automatic admission to colleges and universities in Texas, they also have to take algebra II.”
Ude said every student in Abilene ISD is required to choose an endorsement plan, and the district will not have the foundation plan as a option.
Having algebra II as a non-mandated course does not affect the high school students’ GPA in any way because of other alternative math courses that will be offered such as statistics and quantitative reasoning.
Many Texas teachers believe that if the student is not required to take algebra II, then the student will opt out and not take it.
Stephanie Williams, high school math teacher at Trimble Technical High School in Fort Worth said, “I believe it is a misstep to trade academic rigor for comprehensive electives because it will create a generation of service industry workers which will result in a weak economy.”