Using algebra in real-world applications happens on a daily basis. Calculating sales tax percentages, fuel efficiency in cars and determining travel times to destinations are all algebraic equations in some form. Without these, humans would be lost and late all the time. Algebra should be taught because children need it later to survive modern society.
The educational system generally fails in how they sell the idea of the importance of learning algebra. Learning algebra is not about learning to solve impractical math problems nor is it about becoming a mathematician. It is about training young minds to think critically. It helps to develop a flexible mind that's capable of resolving real-world problems.
Algebra tools are what are useful. The idea that we need two years worth of these courses is ridiculous. The algebra course is erratic and inefficient. There would be a much lower drop-out rate in high school if we developed an algebra course that provided situations in which our students could apply their knowledge.