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Local educators want Algebra II requirement to stay

By: Ruben Veloz

EL PASO, Texas--Local educators and district superintendents are asking the state of Texas to keep algebra II as a required course for all public high schools in the state of Texas. 
Last November the Texas board of education said it will eliminate the subject as a requirement for students to pass high school.
Right now, Texas Universities require students to take algebra II in order to be accepted to four-year universities, but if the state makes changes to subject requirements, educators fear it could limit opportunities for students.

"It gives them more critical thinking skills; it is just math at a higher level, said Guadalupe Fino, a counselor at Del Valle High School.

Fino is a strong supporter of having Algebra II as a high school graduation requirement.

"They know that it is a requirement and the kids they know it is something they need to do, said Fino.
As KFOX14 reported, the Texas State Board of Education decided it would remove Algebra II as a graduation pre-requisite for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.
Fino is worried that could keep some students from attending a four year college in Texas.

"Our students that take advanced courses at the high school level, AP and Dual Credit, those are the students that make it through college, because they are ready."
At a press conference on Wednesday, leaders from 12 different west Texas school districts including ones in El Paso signed a letter asking the Texas Board of Education to re-instate Algebra II as a graduation requirement.
Some El Pasoans told KFOX14 they were divided on the state school board's move.

"If you are not required to pass it to graduate I mean like it makes a lot of students believe that their job got a lot easier, but that's a temporary fix for what you have to deal out here in the real world, said west El Paso resident Marcus Chase. 

"Personally, I don't like math, but umm, it benefited me to take all the math classes that I've taken because you know, as I went into UTEP, I was more prepared, said El Paso resident Amy Fuson.
Although local school districts still have the option of requiring Algebra II as a pre-requisite, critics say it should still be required to ensure all students are prepared for college.

"If you have a student at a higher level math, and you tell them the expectations, more than likely that student will rise to the occasion, said Fino.
The state board will hold a public hearing in Austin next Tuesday and Wednesday to review the graduation plans.
A decision to finalize or make any changes to the new high school requirements are planned for
Jan. 31.