This week's question: "Do you agree with the new state mandate requiring all eighth-graders to take Algebra?"
These are the answers of the members of the Tribune student panel. If you're a student, tell us what you think. Post your answer in the comments field.
Derek Klena, 16, South Hills High School
"I do agree with this new mandate. I feel that all high school math classes require algebraic skills and that getting a head start on algebra while still in middle school would be beneficial to all students and their performance in further math courses and the California High School Exit Exam. Even if the student's previous performance level is below the grade standards, I believe all students should at least get the chance to better themselves and prepare for the future by getting a head start on algebra."
Katie Montemayor, 17, Glendora High School
"I agree that eighth-graders should have to take algebra. Math, especially algebra and calculus, are not among the favorite classes, but this is because they are extremely difficult for most people. If given more time to learn the fundamentals or given the same basics sooner with more practice, the courses will seem less challenging. This will result in higher test scores over all because there will be a better foundation to build upon, making the concepts easier to comprehend and retain."
Amanda McCraven, 14, La Verne Lutheran High School
"I do not agree that all eighth-graders should have to take algebra. I do not agree because some people work slower than others. I think that eighth-graders should take whatever math class fits their skill, whether that be pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, etc. They should not be forced to go a certain math class because some kids might be held back in math and others will be forced to algebra and not understand it."
Nicholas Kuche, 16, Covina High School
"I agree with the new state mandate requiring all eighth-graders to take algebra because taking algebra is required to exit high school. Taking it in middle school will help the students get the knowledge before they enter high school so they can move ahead easier and more efficiently than someone who did not take algebra in middle school. Knowing algebra will also help the students in passing the California High School Exit Exam, which will lead to improved state test scores."
Kasey Haas, 16, Glendora High School
"I don't agree with that. It shouldn't be expected for all eighth-graders to be at the algebra level. If they are forced to take that class without being ready for it, they will not be able to comprehend it. It would be very discouraging."
Taylor Moncrief, 15, Diamond Bar High School
"I have a hard time when anyone 'mandates' that all of any group must do something. Not all kids will benefit from taking Algebra. I think students and schools should establish programs that are good for each individual kid by emphasizing their strengths and interests while filling in areas that are life skills."