On Monday, January 26th, the argument over whether algebra II should remain a requirement for all high school students came to the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey.

There has been a huge debate on this topic for years and it dominated the discussion held this week.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, “Education Commissioner Lucille Davy and a panel of education and business professionals appeared Monday before the Assembly Edu-cation Committee to discuss the Department of Education’s High School Reform project.”

Davy says that “the algebra II requirement would not be so rigorous that it would lead to high rates of failure or students dropping out…it would be a continuation of algebra I, but schools could offer more rigorous honors courses to those who would need them.”

Many educators and lawmakers feel that the subject should not be a requirement for students who live in the 21st Century ruled by technology.

But if the subject was to be taken away, what should take its place?

Rutgers math professor, Joseph Rosenstein, of the New Jersey Math and Science Coalition, fears that the proposed courses will get diluted and will no longer be algebra II.

Rosenstein also states that most students do not need algebra II and more practical applied math courses should be offered instead.

The algebra II requirement also angers many vocational high school educators, because

too many requirements could make it difficult for students to complete programs in high school.

Thomas Bistocchi, superintendent of the Union County Vocational School, states “These are students who benefit from applied learning. We just want students who want to become plumbers have the time to do it.”

Stan Karp, of the Education Law Center, said reform is essential, but improved education does not mean more requirements.

Karp also stated educators and students must be more efficiently prepared to meet these new requirements.

As stated in the Press of Atlantic City, Assemblyman Joseph Malone, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington, suggested asking professionals ranging from carpenters to doctors how they actually use algebra skills. “We need to do a better job at finding out what people actually need to know, not what we think they should know,” he said.

For the complete story please visit the Press of Atlantic City.com.

Tamika M. Murray blogs at PJ’s and a Movie and has contributed to Cerise News and eHow.com.

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