Thanks for the great comment.. such a rarity on /. these days.

It's been a long time since I was in High School math and even 1 year after I graduated they had completely transformed how the course flow / requirements are so I don't even know how my own High School does it these days BUT at least when I went through I was in a group of advanced studies kids who were all promoted in middle school to be ahead by a year or two from the regular curriculum. SO for Algebra II we were in a class mostly filled with the 'normal' track kids from the grade above. After that we were the rare group who even got exposed to Calculus and for senior year we didn't even really have a class.. it was called "Advanced Topics" and honestly turned into a study hall since the only teachers qualified to teach high level math were forced to retire during a budget crunch.

All that being said: Algebra II was easy for us BUT watching the normal-track kids struggle the Algebra wasn't the problem. Our "Algebra II" class was actually "Algebra II / Trig / Pre-Calc". Some kids had trouble with the Trig part just because it's a lot of memorization which not everyone is good at but the real killer was the Pre-Calc part. The students who were clearly not headed towards a mathematical career couldn't even grasp the basic concepts let alone the real meat of the course. Converting that class to more of a "Algebra II / Stats / Applications of Math" class would probably do them a lot of good. The biggest issue I see with math is the real-world connection that just isn't made by a lot of math teachers. The Meme of "High School Math was terrible because I never use Algebra in my daily life" is so widely believed yet nearly everyone uses Algebra at least indirectly every day of their lives. Spending some time in that class connecting those dots would go a long way towards giving those students the drive or even interest to know the material. "Oh hey... I'm actually going to use this stuff!"

Leave the Pre-Calc / Calc / etc for those of us who are headed towards fields that need that level of math. I'm an engineer and I can't remember the last time I did even a basic derivative or integration or differential although at least I know that a lot of what I do came from someone doing such math in the past :)