"Data science" is a popular choice for students who struggled in traditional math classes, reports Javeria Salman on the Hechinger Report. In Oxnard, near Los Angeles, students are analyzing data on topics such as whether social media use during class affects learning. Many did poorly in Algebra II -- or aren't taking it all. Most have no plans to take math-intensive courses in college.

Students say the data courses are more "real world" -- and less frustrating.

"__Seventeen states__ now offer data science (an interdisciplinary field that combines computer programming, math and statistics) as a high school math option," writes Salman. "Oregon and Ohio — offer it as an alternative to Algebra II."

Last year, the University of California reversed its 2020 decision to let students substitute data science for Algebra II. In February, the panel said there's __not enough math__ in the courses now offered to count as a recommended fourth year of math for university applicants. It's more like an introduction to data literacy.

Oxnard will limit the data course to students who've passed Algebra II or are taking it at the same time. "The district is also considering a pilot __course__ that would integrate Algebra II and Data Science," writes Salman.

Infusing data concepts into Algebra II is a better option, says Adrian Mims, founder of the Calculus Project. Replacing Algebra II with data science will track students into remedial math in college, he fears.

"Introductory data science courses may whet high school students’ appetites," write two Berkeley professors. But, students who take data science instead of Algebra II "will __not be adequately prepared for science and technology majors__ in college.__ __write Jelani Nelson and Jennifer Chayes in EdSource. That includes majors in data science.

Chayes is dean of the Berkeley's College of Computing, Data Science, and Society, and professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, information, mathematics and statistics. Nelson is a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley.

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