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I do understand Algebra. That's not the issue. Some kids can do Algebra at a young age and I applaud your skills. However, current brain science and psychology (some of which is pretty good) supports what I am saying. A noted psychologist named Piaget documented and confirmed these stages of learning, and school curriculum was tailored to what students were developmentally ready for. Everywhere Algebra was moved down, it was a disaster. We will still teach Algebra along the way, but most kids are not ready for it until 9th grade. (It takes emotional maturity, too, to pay attention and take responsibility for learning, which varies greatly in middle school but improves in high school.)
Michelle, As a math teacher for 23 years, I agree with almost everything you said. My only area of disagreement is in the comment that Algebra is being shoved up into the 9th grade. Up until just a few years ago, Algebra was the 9th grade standard because it relied on a lot of abstract thinking, the kind of thinking that most 7th and 8th graders are not biologically ready to do. When it was dropped down a grade, it was a disaster everywhere. Good teachers tried to teach it to good kids who just were not developmentally ready for it. It was too much too young. I support returning Algebra to the ninth grade where kids are more likely to be able to learn it. (I am a born-again, right wing, anti-Obama, anti-NEA, Christian conservative.
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