House bill would get rid of Algebra II requirement to graduate high school in Arizona
PHOENIX — A bill moving through the state Legislature would no longer require Arizona high school students to take Algebra II to graduate.
House Bill 2278 would direct the State Board of Education to “develop and adopt academic competency requirements for an alternative mathematics graduation pathway that includes algebra, geometry and another advanced mathematics course.”
That additional math class could focus on personal finance, computer science, statistics or business mathematics.
State Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, argues classes like these would teach students useful math skills they would actually need after high school.
“The importance of the kids knowing this stuff is vital, and I don’t believe it is being taught,” he told the House Education Committee last month.
Currently, students need at least 22 credits to graduate high school in Arizona. Four of those must cover mathematics, including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and a fourth math course picked by the school district governing board or charter school.
Critics worry the bill would let students opt out of Algebra II and graduate with three math credits instead of four. They also point out Algebra II is a required course to be admitted into Arizona’s three public universities.
Paul Luna, president and CEO of the Helios Education Foundation, shares those concerns. He also fears getting rid of the requirement would lower standards for students.
“Our strong point of view is that every high school graduation pathway should end with college and career readiness for that student,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
The bill passed the House and is waiting for a vote in the Senate.