To the Editor,

I support the State Board of Educationís efforts to create new, relevant forms of algebra, and urge the board to take a hard look at the standards, curriculum, textbooks and instruction that lead us to the mastery of one of our most critical courses. Every student is capable of learning the concepts in Algebra II.

Algebra II, either in traditional or applied, hands-on instruction, is a gatekeeper course for both career and college readiness. The second year of algebra is often the breakthrough for students, the course that develops skills of reasoning and logic. Scores on the ACT, SAT and Texas Success Initiative are substantially increased when students learn the content of Algebra II (in either a hands on or traditional instruction).

Additionally, there is growing evidence that career and technical courses might better help students learn the Algebra II content because it is hands-on, relevant and advances a student on a particular career path. By no longer requiring students take Algebra II, students jeopardize their future success. Nationwide, high school graduates that complete less than three courses in math are less likely to meet college readiness benchmarks. Students that complete coursework beyond Algebra II are less likely to need remediation. For low-income students enrolled at a community college, pursuit of a higher level math course increases their persistence rate by 44 percent.

Please support Algebra II for all Texas high school students!

Kathleen Neal,