Eideneurolearning found an article about a school district that has been accelerating larger numbers of middle school students to take high school level algebra, after relaxing the entry criteria from only those who scored in the 90th percentile on exams to allowing students who scored in the 70th percentile or better. This increased enrollment by three times, while only 5% did not meet standards on a state achievement exam. There is also evidence that brains of younger children at the middle school level are better suited to learn mathematics such as algebra better than adult brains.
At some point when I have more time, I will write a good deal more about what I believe is absolutely essential for public education to take the next step in dealing with numerous issues (especially with trying to close the minority achievement gap), and which deals with long-term commitments and collaborations between all levels of schooling, including universities. In addition, the article referred to above also hits on the need to provide intellectual challenges for students. This can take the form of more challenging classes as well as extracurricular activities and competitions.