## CA schools give up teaching algebra in 8th grade

Math is hard

California once trumpeted that its educational system produced people skilled in science and technology.

No longer. The Daily Caller contributor Robby Soave reports that algebra will no longer be part of the requirements for an eighth grade curriculum.

California will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college.

Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is sponsored by the National Governor’s Association, is an effort to unify diverse state education curricula. Forty-five other states and the District of Columbia have signed on so far.

But some education experts worry that the change will further damage struggling students’ college chances, since early proficiency in Algebra I is an excellent predictor of college graduation, according to the Mercury News.

Black and Latino students in California are significantly more likely to fail eighth-grade algebra, and 80 percent of those who fail it once will fail it again when they take it in high school.

A study published by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area claims that some minority students who score well enough to place into advanced math classes are often mistakenly held back.

“School districts have been disproportionately requiring minority students to repeat Algebra I even after they scored proficient or advanced on the Algebra I California standardized tests,” said Kimberly Thomas Rapp, executive director of the committee, in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The new standard is a step back for California, and may leave students, particularly minority and low-income students, unprepared for college, said Rapp.

“Back in ‘97 when the state went to a standard that expected students to take Algebra 1 in the eighth grade, that was really about looking forward to college competitiveness and preparing our public school students to be ready to compete to access college systems after high school,” she said. “The reality is what we’re now doing is lowering the standards.”

Instead, Rapp proposed that California schools improve the mathematics curriculum for students in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades, so that they are better prepared for Algebra I in eighth grade.

California no longer requiring eighth graders to take Algebra (The Daily Caller)

## Comments

In the collective, failure is success.

Leftist headline, Success Assured; No California student will ever again fail algebra

It’s not that one should succeed, it’s that everyone fail.

California’s eighth graders ready for algebra will get algebra. The ones that aren’t ready won’t be pushed to take it anyway anymore.

Do any other states herd all eighth graders into algebra classes?

Q.

Does pushing all eighth graders into algebra classes invalidate the very statistic, “early proficiency in Algebra I is an excellent predictor of college graduation”, used as the excuse for doing so?A.

Yes.Math – even basic interpretive statistics – is hard.

Lawyering and snarking? Not so hard.

It’s okay. Sociology is a science too, with the advantage that you don’t need to have ever studied one of those oppressive white male’s “sciences” like math, physics, chemistry or stuff.

I mean, it’s not like algebra or, I dunno, good graders, is like relevant to real life, right?

If students are failing algebra, forcing them to fail it on schedule isn’t going to help them get to college. Part of the problem has to be the assumption that all students have to go to college, or should go to college. Part of the problem is that if a student doesn’t do things “on schedule” they’re screwed. If they read late they learn they are dumb. If they fail algebra in 8th grade they learn that they’re dumb.

How does taking algebra in grade 8 work? (My school had algebra in grade 9, 30 years ago.) The kids take algebra in grade 8, algebra 2 in grade 9, geometry in grade 10, trigonometry in grade 11, calculus in grade 12? Of course not. And no one has to, just because they’re going to college.

Thirty years ago half the kids took algebra one in 9th grade and went on to “consumer math.” Because there wasn’t this stupid notion that absolutely everyone had to go to college.

And if a student decides they’d like to go to college after all, schools should be flexible enough to let them take algebra their junior or senior years.

[...] » CA schools give up teaching algebra in 8th grade – Col·lege In·sur·rec·tion [...]

I agree about 9th grade Algebra. It is plenty of time for those planning to attend college. Eighth grade we spent really refining our knowledge of percentages and decimals. For example with math statements like “40 is 200 percent of what number?” Also what is a 50 percent increase at a starting point of 600. We really knew how to do these manipulations and that made Algebra quite logical. E.g. “40 = 200 %X. And X = 600 + 50%(600). Our progression starting in 9th grade was Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry 1 semester, Combinations/Permutations the last semester. We celebrate our 50th reunion soon. Only about 40 percent of the class took that progress. This was rural Pennsylvania.Excellent teachers all the way along.

Algebra in 8th grade? Why, for heaven’s sake? I took it freshman year in a Jesuit-run college prep HS (after Catholic grade school). Geometry sophomore year, analytic geometry junior year, AP calculus senior year.

[...] Stop even trying to teach it. [...]