Recently, I read an article in The Chronicle about a proposed new math curriculum that would longer offer the class, Algebra 1, to middle schoolers. This is my 12th year as a student in OUSD public schools, and I have not taken any math courses beyond what is offered by the schools.
I believe that middle schools should continue to offer Algebra 1. Supporters of the new math curriculum claim that it will be more equitable to students and help improve students’ math abilities.
However, from personal experience, I can attest that no longer offering Algebra 1 to middle schoolers will not improve students’ math abilities. The students who were taking Algebra 1 in middle school will take online math courses instead to get ahead, and most online courses do not go as in depth as in-person math. I am in Calculus this year, and the students who got to Calculus by taking online classes have large gaps in their knowledge.
Another reason why middle schools should continue to offer Algebra 1 is because public school students should have the opportunity to take Calculus BC by the time they get into 12th grade. Frequently, students learn Calculus better in high school than college because they have smaller classes and a more personal relationship with their teachers.
Finally, no longer offering Algebra 1 in middle schools would not be equitable because students with fewer resources would be less likely to take courses outside of school and advance to Calculus BC.
So, if there is going to be a new math curriculum, it should offer more pathways for students to reach Calculus BC by 12th grade.