There's something to be said about learning algebra in school because mathematics is, at its core, basic logic. Algebra improves your reasoning skills the same way learning a foreign language improves your native language skills: it gives you a new way to look at and approach knowledge you already possess, strengthening your grasp of that knowledge, and empowering your ability to use it effectively.

There are a lot of bullshit prerequisites for college degrees, but basic algebra isn't one of them.