In a move that should shock none of us, MSU has done away with requiring algebra to graduate. They claim that algebra is just too hard for their students, so they are implementing new "quantitative literacy" classes. And it's not like MSU's algebra course is rocket science. From one class's syllabus:
The topics of MTH 103 include linear & quadratic equations & inequalities, complex numbers, equations with radicals, absolute value, graphing linear and quadratic equations, transformations of graphs, polynomials, functions, polynomial and rational functions, exponentials, logarithms, and, most importantly, applications of these topics to solving problems outside of mathematics.
I do realize that math isn't for everyone (UM's calculus courses were the WORST), but come on. If you have a college degree, you're expected to able to perform simple algebra calculations. Luckily, one of MSU's leaders agrees with me:
But students aren’t likely to succeed in the new classes or in post-college life without some algebra fundamentals, said William Schmidt, director of the MSU College of Education's Center for the Study of Curriculum. “Students who come to college with real weaknesses on the formal math side may not benefit fully from the quantitative lessons,” he said. While every job doesn’t require a well-honed knowledge of advanced math, Schmidt said, learning the fundamentals is essential to problem-solving. “The logic of thinking algebraically builds ways of thinking about problems, allowing us to engage in the practical aspects of mathematics,” he said. “It’s pretty tough (to do so) without it.”
So maybe there is a small chance that eventually those quantitative literacy classes will end up resembling actual algebra. But until then, we just have to be content with "Go to school at MSU, learn to count to te-en!" being all too real.