I think the article might be a little misleading just due to own personal experience. I graduated from a private school in 1987.
We were years ahead of other schools in curriculum and Algebra wasn't offered until 9th grade. I have 3 children..1 homeschooled graduated and 2 top 1000 high schools in the country graduated. They were all offered pre algebra or algebra in the 8th grade..All graduated with 3.5 or higher taking college prep classes and finishing high school with calculus or probability and stats as their 4th year math. I find it very hard to believe that the only class offered in ALL California 8th grade schools was algerbra....it's just not normal curriculum. And the problem with todays education is not that they do not memorize the facts given them to learn or stay competitive. They are not given the tools to learn how to think.
"and the truth shall make you free"
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