Texas started a trend by making most of its high school students tackle algebra II. But eight years later, the state often watched for education policy is abandoning the requirement.
The move is being praised by school districts for affording them more flexibility. But some policy experts are nervous because nearly 20 states have since followed Texas' lead in requiring the advanced math course.
Supporters say fewer curriculum mandates give students more time to focus on vocational training for high-paying jobs that don't necessarily require a college degree.
But critics say the state is watering down its academic standards, noting that graduation rates and college-exam scores have increased.
Texas will join Florida in dropping the requirement when its Board of Education gives final approval to a curriculum overhaul next week.
Explore further: Bilingual education has spillover effect