It might take time for efforts to push algebra into lower grades to yield results, author Jay Mathews writes. Mathews notes similar questions about acceleration and achievement expectations were asked in 1991 when Maryland's Prince George's County experimented with making Algebra I required in ninth grade. It has taken two decades, but the passing grades in algebra classes in the district have risen from 56% in 1991 to 74% in 1997, with 52% of students passing the state algebra test.

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