The Texas State Board of Education is hearing final public testimony regarding how the new career-ready and college-bound pathways will look for school districts; the subject Algebra II is still the most hotly contested topic.
Several people are testifying about course requirements for House Bill 5, now a Texas law, that creates multiple educational pathways have concerns about reducing academic rigor by doing away with the requirement that students take Algebra. Ray Keck, President of Texas A & M International University in Laredo, said the State Board needs to figure out how to address the problem of students passing Algebra II, not making it go away.
“How we as a society have convinced ourselves that algebra somehow doesn’t matter, I can’t explain,” Keck said. “The rest of the world doesn’t follow that, and if we want these students to compete globally, they need Algebra II.”
Marissa Perez, a State Board of Education member from San Antonio, threw out an alternative solution.
“Let them decide whether they want to a local level determine that Algebra II should be requirement for their prospective [school] district. The reality of the situation is not all of our students are going to college,” Perez suggested.
Priscilla Camacho, with the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, supports that idea.
“You’ve heard hearings and arguments ad nauseam about Algebra II, but I think what is really important is applied courses. Are they relevant?”
After hearing a day’s worth of testimony, the board will then debate Thursday what combination of courses go with each educational path.