Just a comment from my personal experience with algebra in the middle school. My daughter attended a gifted middle school and took the equivalent of what the high schools call Algebra 1-2 while there. She was actually given "credit" at the high school level. Her freshman year she took Algebra 3-4, sophomore year Geometry and during her junior year she took a true Precalculus course with an eye on AP Calculus next year in her senior year.
The area high schools have found this process quite successful, as far as I can tell. A few years back they tried the more "traditional" sequence with the incoming freshmen taking Geometry when they had credit for Algebra 1-2 in middle school. They then took Algebra 3-4 during their sophomore year. They found this not as successful. The feeling was (as I heard it) that the freshmen were note mathematically mature enough for the "theory" in geometry. With the new sequence, things have gone much better.
Herb Kasube Department of Mathematics Bradley University Peoria, IL 61625 firstname.lastname@example.org