Higher Math in Lower Grades: Hurting or Helping Kids?

BTB mathBy Cindy Donaldson

Every parent wants to see her child keep up with peers, and these days that means taking algebra in the eighth grade. But sometimes we forget that algebra is a very demanding course, full of sophisticated and abstract ideas. Do students really need to take this higher math course in lower grades, or can it do them more harm than good?

There are two sides to the issue. Politicians like the idea of offering algebra in middle school. They argue that the world has sped up over the past generation; technology has gotten more complicated, ideas more …