Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools – Algebra Edition

Back in 2008 when I wrote The George Orwell Daycare Center, I quoted the LA Dog Trainer in an unusually good investigative piece:

When the Los Angeles Board of Education approved tougher graduation requirements that went into effect in 2003, the intention was to give kids a better education and groom more graduates for college and high-level jobs. For the first time, students had to pass a year of algebra and a year of geometry or an equivalent class to earn diplomas. The policy was born of a worthy goal but has proved disastrous for students unprepared to meet the new demands. In the fall of 2004, 48,000 ninth-graders took beginning algebra; 44% flunked, nearly twice the failure rate as in English. Seventeen percent finished with Ds. In all, the district that semester handed out Ds and Fs to 29,000 beginning algebra students — enough to fill eight high schools the size of Birmingham. Among those who repeated the class in the spring, nearly three-quarters flunked again.

Things have, apparently, not improved.

A couple of years later, I reported that the local University of Arizona would begin teaching remedial high-school algebra to incoming (and unprepared) freshmen, so it’s not like it’s something restricted to Los Angeles.

However, LA has decided to DO SOMETHING about it!

Stop even trying to teach it.

Yeah. That’ll work.

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