Educated parents want their kids to take algebra in eighth grade, so they’ll be ready for calculus in 12th grade, writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post. Common Core is doing a lousy job of explaining why bright students should wait till high school to take algebra.
Private schools aren’t cutting back on eighth-grade algebra, Mathews writes.
“Ambitious parents . . . are unlikely to tolerate delaying algebra, no matter what the experts say.”
Schools are dropping eighth-grade algebra or restricting access, according to Tom Loveless of Brookings. “The portion of eighth-graders in advanced math has declined from 48 percent in 2013 to 43 percent in 2015.”
Students who get an early start on algebra earn higher scores on AP exams, his research shows. Yet that opportunity is “more open to white and Asian students in suburban schools than to disadvantaged youngsters in schools serving students of color.”