March 14, 2010 1:47 AM

Commentary: Why national education standards are important

Who knew algebra could stir up such a fuss? But there's been a fast and furious debate going on in the Charlotte Observer's Forum on whether algebra should be a high school requirement. Some declared algebra an "elitist subject not needed for living" — better to make it an elective and require basic math where people learn how to "understand the math behind the mortgage we sign" and determining the "best price per pound" of beef. But others defended algebra as necessary because it is "math for living," helpful they say in understanding that mortgage and in calculating income taxes and the sales tax on that pound of beef.

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