By “Algebra II Debate” I mean mandating it at the high school level.
Flanagan ask[ed], “What if that waitress, or store clerk or landscaper wants to change careers and needs to go to college … so they might study to become a medical technician or an architect?”
And my answer to Flanagan’s question is: The waitress would have to take the prerequisite math that she chose not to take in high school prior to studying for those other professions. This is a small burden compared to the two to five years of college that are necessary to become either a medical technician or an architect. Let’s call this a Type I error — the student took fewer math courses in high school than he or she needed in his or her lifetime.
Now, let’s consider the students who will be forced to take Algebra II, and because they did not pass it, will not get a high school diploma (dropout). Let’s call this a Type II error — the student was required to take a math course that he or she did not need in his or her vocation and failed it. Note: In their effort to pass Algebra II, many of these students will not have the time to take much needed vocational training.
I have mixed feelings about this argument, but I appreciate it is different from what I’m used to hearing.