Algebra II could be a thing of the past for Arizona high schoolers if bill passes

A new proposal in the Arizona Legislature would ditch Algebra II as a requirement for high schoolers and replace it with something else.
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 9:25 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Could algebra II soon be a high school requirement of the past? A bill making its way through state Legislature wants to replace algebra II with what some consider more useful math or finance classes instead. But some say algebra II is essential pre-college.

Jody Corbett has a high school grad and two current high schoolers and all of them have asked her the same thing about their algebra II class. “‘Why am I taking this math that I’m never going to use again?’ And they ask me if I’ve ever had to use it since high school and I honestly have to say no,” Corbett said.

Algebra II can be a difficult class for students; parents often say it’s much harder than algebra I. But as it stands now, it’s a requirement to pass algebra II to graduate high school.

High school math teacher Kelly Berg has seen it firsthand. “It has come down to that last unit or final exam as to whether or not the student was going to graduate and walk that day,” said Berg.

But if HB 2278 passes through the Legislature, that would change. The bill would change requirements to offer an alternative mathematics pathway to graduation after geometry that could include personal finance, computer science, statistics or business mathematics.

Corbett said her kids would absolutely be interested in that. “Business math, personal finance, statistics even for kids that maybe want to do marketing,” said Corbett.

But some teachers said not so fast. Elizabeth Leybeck is a former math teacher and now an assistant principal at Mesquite High School in Gilbert. She feels Arizona can’t just get rid of the course. “I think we need to keep algebra II because it is a course in the sequence that prepares students for higher learning at the college and university levels,” said Leybeck.

The state Department of Education agrees. Officials sent this statement to Arizona’s Family:

The bill passed the House and is now making its way through the Senate.