You need to stop obsessing with students who don't meet yout personal
standards, and stick to the upper parts of the distribution.
My personal standards? The standards I have been using can be best described as being sufficient enough for the student to go on and apply what they have learned in real situations that necessitate the level of math taken. No more. No less. Algebra is a technical subject. Whether it be engineering, the application of statistics or the technical side of a mortgage. What I do know, and this is by direct observation, if you do not reach that standard, then the effort is wasted. The student will never use it, and what little was gotten will be forgotten very quickly.