Is Algebra Necessary?

Is Algebra Necessary?

Algebra has long been a required math course for teenagers, but some argue it’s not for all students. Differing views on the value of teaching algebra.

Mastering algebra is widely considered a stepping stone to higher mathematics and college readiness. But last month, a political science professor touched off a debate when he challenged the value of algebra in American education. He argued we should remove algebra from high school and college curriculum, citing it is a key reason why kids drop out of school. But critics say the issue is not algebra – it’s how it’s taught. With more effective class instruction, the course can instill critical thinking and reasoning skills needed in everyday life. Diane talks with her guests about math education and why it matters.


Andrew Hacker

professor of political science at Queens College of New York. He is the co-author of "Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids - And What We Can Do About It."

Ed Nolan

program supervisor of mathematics in Montgomery County.

Jacob Vigdor

professor of public policy and economics at Duke University.

Judy Bolton-Fasman

a writer and parenting columnist.

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