I'm all for the free market approach, but if algebra gets left out, I predict a negative free market effect. Any approach that advocates or encourages LESS knowledge can only end up badly. But feel free to try. I'm fairly confident that the free market will see to it that algebra will be preserved in some form or another.
Anyways, anyone who has LEARNED decent critical thinking skills can see that all the numbers in the article were cherry picked to support his argument. Only the gullible will think that just because numbers and statistics were used, that somehow the arguments used are somehow stronger and more relevant.
Ever heard of this joke:
"Statistics are like whores, play with them long enough and they'll do anything for you."
Anyone that understands statistics KNOW that depending on how you run the numbers, it can easily be skewed in such a way where it supports your case. To see through the lies of statistics, you would need to have a firm grasp on the relationship between cause and effect (which would require philosophy, mathematics or a course in logic) . In this article, the statistics are skewed in a manner to suggest that the effect of students FAILING was because of the inclusion of algebra or mathematics (which would be the CAUSE). If this were really true, ALL countries would do equally bad. Currently, the US ranking in math is 24th. The author has conveniently marginalized this point in order to strengthen his case. This extra piece of knowledge SHOWS (or atleast highly suggests) that students failing is not because of the inclusion of algebra.
And even if you managed to prove it, you would need to prove that reducing the ability of students to fail means that students are smarter. Passing subjects more easily doesn't necessarily mean you are smarter.