Eloy Ortiz Oakley, college chancellor of California Community Colleges System argued against forcing students in college to learn algebra. It’s a “civil rights issue,” said Oakley. Basically the argument is that if college was easier, more black people would have college degrees. Wow.
“This is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans — particularly low-income Americans. If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy — which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential — the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential,” said Oakley.
He argued against this just being a way to make college easier. “I hear that a lot and unfortunately nothing could be farther from the truth. Somewhere along the lines, since the 1950s, we decided that the only measure of a student’s ability to reason or to do some sort of quantitative measure is algebra,” he said.
“What we’re saying is we want as rigorous a course as possible to determine a student’s ability to succeed, but it should be relevant to their course of study. There are other math courses that we could introduce that tell us a lot more about our students,” he said.
So do you think college should get rid of algebra?