Dan Goldner, whose recent blogging has been fantastic:
I need an overarching theme, question, or mission for Algebra 2 that transcends and motivates the required skills. The content goals of Algebra 2 are to invert, transform, solve, and apply graphical, tabular, and analytic representations of linear, quadratic, exponential, sinusoidal, and rational equations. That’s R. What’s S?
I count myself fortunate to have never taught Algebra II, the current configuration of which in California probably violates some of the conventions and treaties the US has signed w/r/t human rights abuses. [NB. The R and S thing will make more sense if you click through.]