If algebra is an obstacle for some students, perhaps educators just need to work harder.

The College Fix reports:

College official: Drop algebra requirement because minorities keep failing it

The chancellor of the California community college system has stated that institutions’ algebra requirements are “the biggest barrier” for “underemployed or unemployed Americans,” and as such is … a civil rights issue.

According to NPR, Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley is “among a growing number of educators who view intermediate algebra as an obstacle to students obtaining their credentials — particularly in fields that require no higher level math skills.”

In an interview with the chancellor, NPR’s Robert Siegel pointed out the low graduation rate in the community college system (48% for an associate’s degree), and then asked Oakley if ditching algebra wasn’t just the “easy way out.”

Oakley retorted “I hear that a lot and unfortunately nothing could be farther from the truth. Somewhere along the lines, since the 1950s, we decided that the only measure of a student’s ability to reason or to do some sort of quantitative measure is algebra.

“What we’re saying is we want as rigorous a course as possible to determine a student’s ability to succeed, but it should be relevant to their course of study. There are other math courses that we could introduce that tell us a lot more about our students.”