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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:41 PM

California abandons algebra requirement for eighth-graders

Last edited Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:25 PM - Edit history (1)

By falling in line with other states, California is abandoning its push for all eighth-graders to take algebra.

Last month, the State Board of Education unanimously shifted away from a 15-year policy of expecting eighth-graders to take Algebra I. The state will allow them to take either Algebra I or an alternate course that includes some algebra. New state standardized tests will focus on the alternate course -- the same one adopted by most states under the Common Core curriculum being rolled out across the nation.

Supporters welcome the change as more in line with current practice, of schools offering two tracks of math for eighth-graders. But critics fear that the new standard will let schools avoid offering rigorous courses for all. They point to a report released last week showing that some schools are not placing black and Latino students in advanced math courses even when they're prepared.

The change is controversial because success in Algebra I is the single best predictor of college graduation.

full: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_22509069/california-abandons-algebra-requirement-eighth-graders

In a nation where even professors can argue with a straight face against teaching algebra, this will only ____ students over in the less wealthy areas. (edit) I attended california public schools & took advanced algebra in grade 8, see reply 13 for more detail.)

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Reply California abandons algebra requirement for eighth-graders (Original post)
alp227 Feb 2013 OP
derby378 Feb 2013 #1
duffyduff Feb 2013 #70
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #2
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #25
Yavin4 Feb 2013 #59
calimary Feb 2013 #3
PADemD Feb 2013 #4
exboyfil Feb 2013 #5
alp227 Feb 2013 #13
exboyfil Feb 2013 #16
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #21
duffyduff Feb 2013 #71
JDPriestly Feb 2013 #39
duffyduff Feb 2013 #72
exboyfil Feb 2013 #78
cally Feb 2013 #6
TM99 Feb 2013 #30
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #31
TM99 Feb 2013 #40
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #55
X_Digger Feb 2013 #62
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #82
TM99 Feb 2013 #83
duffyduff Feb 2013 #69
TM99 Feb 2013 #76
tridim Feb 2013 #66
duffyduff Feb 2013 #67
zonkers Feb 2013 #92
Codeine Feb 2013 #7
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #27
Fawke Em Feb 2013 #8
dsc Feb 2013 #12
musical_soul Feb 2013 #23
Fawke Em Feb 2013 #84
dsc Feb 2013 #86
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #26
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #28
Nye Bevan Feb 2013 #9
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #24
MissB Feb 2013 #10
dsc Feb 2013 #11
GoCubsGo Feb 2013 #46
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #49
Bradical79 Feb 2013 #74
GoCubsGo Feb 2013 #81
Bradical79 Feb 2013 #64
GoCubsGo Feb 2013 #80
X_Digger Feb 2013 #53
Recursion Feb 2013 #63
Initech Feb 2013 #14
AnnieBW Feb 2013 #15
amandabeech Feb 2013 #37
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #47
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #17
laundry_queen Feb 2013 #90
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #91
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #18
bluestateguy Feb 2013 #19
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #20
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #29
musical_soul Feb 2013 #22
hughee99 Feb 2013 #85
Rex Feb 2013 #32
entanglement Feb 2013 #33
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #34
entanglement Feb 2013 #35
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #36
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #38
MadHound Feb 2013 #41
a la izquierda Feb 2013 #42
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #44
TM99 Feb 2013 #61
HappyMe Feb 2013 #43
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #45
librabear Feb 2013 #57
LWolf Feb 2013 #48
X_Digger Feb 2013 #50
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #54
Mariana Feb 2013 #89
aquart Feb 2013 #51
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #52
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #56
Sirveri Feb 2013 #87
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #88
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #58
AngryAmish Feb 2013 #60
duffyduff Feb 2013 #65
ceile Feb 2013 #68
Apophis Feb 2013 #73
VenusRising Feb 2013 #75
madrchsod Feb 2013 #77
Livluvgrow Feb 2013 #79

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:47 PM

1. "We're dumbing down, dumb-de-dumb-dumb..."

Since there's no YouTube video of that Chumbawamba song, here's this instead:

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Response to derby378 (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:27 AM

70. No, we are not. We are preventing more students to be tracked into special ed when they don't need

to be.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:48 PM

2. What on earth are they thinking??? Do they not want CA HS graduates to get into good universities??

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:02 AM

25. did you not notice the part about Common Core, the new national standards developed by Bill Gates

 

that every state has had to sign on to in order to get certain federal funding?

It's not about california; it's about education deform.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:04 AM

59. " Do they not want CA HS graduates to get into good universities??" That's The True Reason

Less qualified applicants to the UC and Cal higher ed systems means less students. Less students means entire campuses can be closed.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:52 PM

3. Not very smart.

Sigh...

Disappointing news.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:14 PM

4. We had three years of algebra.

Algebra I in 7th grade.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:20 PM

5. In Iowa less than half of our 8th

graders take Algebra I. If you stay on sequence when taking Algebra I in 8th grade, then you will be taking Calculus I in 12th grade. Most students don't need to do this. Even pretty good students in our school district don't take Algebra in 8th grade. I did not when I went through the California system, and I went on to get a M.S. in Engineering. It would have been better for me to have had Algebra in 8th grade, but it did not put me that far behind.

The standard course for good students is 8th grade is Honors PreAlgebra. It is a good enrichment course that follows a general course in 7th grade. Many kids are not ready for a real Algebra course in 8th grade, and I think their efforts can be directed in other areas.

It actually took quite a bit of effort for me to get my daughters into Algebra in 8th grade, and they are very good students. I can't imagine trying to do this for every student.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:23 PM

13. At my junior high all eighth graders took algebra 1

either basic or advanced. Because I took advanced algebra in grade 8 I got to take geometry in my first year of high school rather than re take algebra. Then because I took trigonometry & pre calculus at a local jr college the summer before my junior year I finished two levels of calculus (5 on BOTH AB, BC) by the time I graduated in 2009. I attended CA public schools from first to twelfth grades in the era when the state required middle school algebra.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:39 PM

16. I was in the California system

in the 1970s (would have been on track to graduate in 1981). Only the top notch math talent took Algebra in 8th grade (I probably should have been in that class, but I was sent into the regular math class in 7th grade). Even though I was not accelerated I received a good education in my 7th-9th grade classes (I left California after 9th grade). In Mississippi it was the same thing (only about one class of accelerated students who took Precalculus in 12th grade). I started Purdue in Calculus I in 1981, and I did fine (some had a three semester Caclulus sequence while I had 4.) I think it turned out fine.

I think good students should go fasther if they and their parents want to, but Algebra in 8th grade is not necessary (at least not a typical Algebra class).

I have nothing against acceleration. My 11th grade daughter is taking Calculus II right now (it is an online course and I tutor her heavily). I just think that many students are not ready for Algebra in 8th grade, and frankly I don't think they need to take it. If they are diligent things will turn out fine (for example I took Algebra in 9th grade, and I have a M.S. in Engineering, and have taken about 40 hours of engineering/math classes beyond my M.S.).

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:49 PM

21. my daughter's friend is taking Cal II, my daughter is taking pre-Cal

Every student should have choices.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:29 AM

71. You aren't very old. How many students couldn't master the material? How many

were forced into special education because the curriculum was inappropriate?

You BET I think this change in California is good. Algebra should NEVER be a requirement for students who are at an age when they are just learning abstract thinking.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:06 AM

39. This is the computer age. Every child needs to understand algebra.

And a lot more children need to know calculus.

I'm from a generation that did not have to take much advanced math. I think children will be at a disadvantage in the future if they don't have it. Fortunately, people can learn it when they are adults.

We are entering an age in which robots will be taking our jobs. The good jobs will be available to those who write the programs that manage the robots -- and that will require a mind that is trained by math if not math skills in themselves.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #39)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:30 AM

72. Baloney.

Algebra isn't a requirement for the vast majority of jobs. Forcing inappropriate curriculum was a way for the "reformers" to weed kids out early and track them.

Robots aren't doing any more jobs than in the past. Please don't repeat the current nonsense peddled by neoliberals.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #39)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:04 AM

78. My daughters came out of elementary school in a very good school

system. My oldest (the better of the two at math) did not get into PreAlgebra in 7th grade, and was instead in a very good middle school math class that had some overlap in curriculum with the PreAlgebra class (which would have been the class she would have taken next if she had not skipped it - that is another story). If she had stayed on track with that (and many of her high performing classmates have gone that route including at least one planning on going into engineering), then they would take Algebra in 9th grade and terminated with Precalculus in 12th grade (still on sequence to graduate in 4 years from an engineering college). Nothing is wrong with this approach. It is right for some students - actually it is probably right for most students.

Some get on this board and brag about finishing Calculus BC by 12th grade. Most students are not capable of doing this. Even if you have to take Precalculus in college, it is not a significant set back from finishing a technical degree in science, engineering, or math. Most degrees in college only require math to a Precalculus level anyway (I could argue that all students should have Calculus I to get a B.S./B.A., but I got flamed about that before).

As I mentioned I live in a community with a pretty high performing public school system. We have mostly intact families with significant involvement by these families in the school system. We have very few ESLs and a low percentage of free school lunch kids. We have all the advantages and parents still recognize that many kids are not ready for Algebra in 8th grade. I worked hard to get my younger daughter into Algebra in 8th, and she lost her 4.0 in 9th grade Geometry (got an A-). I don't question the decision to place her in Algebra in 8th grade, but she would have been blown away in Algebra in 8th grade without my tutoring. She plans to terminate with a B.A. and Calculus I (she wants to go to medical school). She loves life science (is currently in a 11th/12th grade Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology class), but she does not care for math.

My father-in-law is a former professor of mathematics at a teaching college. He agrees with me that Algebra in 8th grade is not suitable for all students. The mandate was foolish to begin with and looked at correlations and did not realize causations.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:25 PM

6. algebra is one of those skills that is developmental

meaning that most students may not be able to understand it at a young age but understand it at a later age. I sat and observed 8th grade algebra a few times and talked to the teacher who was very frustrated. She believed that kids were set up for failure by forcing them to take it in 8th grade instead of 9th. I believe that it should be an option but not a requirement.

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Response to cally (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:44 AM

30. All skills are developmental

and that is why we design curriculum that teach any skill from math to science to the English language in a steadily progressive manner.

Thirty years ago, every middle school student in the NC public schools took algebra. Naturally there were beginner courses and advanced courses. And those, like myself, who were 'academically gifted' took the higher level courses much sooner. Yet all students by the time they reached the public high schools had taken at least Algebra I even if they needed Pre-Algebra classes to augment it and make it possible.

If children today are now 'dumber' and are not capable of taking these classes as they once did, the question then is why? Are we now saying that kids today are developmentally stunted and therefore are incapable of taking these math courses like generations previously were required to do? This continued dumbing down of America will begin very quickly to have frightening consequences some of which are already becoming apparent today.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Dumbest-Generation-Stupefies-Jeopardizes/dp/1585427128/ref=pd_sim_b_9

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shallows-Internet-Doing-Brains/dp/0393339750/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.com/Distracted-Erosion-Attention-Coming-Dark/dp/1591027489/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

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Response to TM99 (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:49 AM

31. what is wrong with treating people like individuals?

To say that all students including special education students should be capable of learning algebra I at eight grade is to assume that every human develops the exact same way at the exact same time. That is just completely wrong. Students should have choices. We're not robots. We're human, we are individuals, and we are not all exactly the same.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #31)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:22 AM

40. Nothing at all, however,

if we continue to dumb down to the lowest common denominator in our quest for 'individualism' and 'freedom' then no one, including the students, are served well by said choice.

If a student is developmental challenged and requires special education classes then no they will not be placed in a tract designed for all other students. This is as true yesterday as it is now today.

Your argument fails as prior to today, many if not most states did require Algebra I be completed by the time a student reached high school. We were not treated like robots. I was gifted so by the time I was in 8th grade I was doing Algebra II & Trig. Other classmates were not so they were doing straight Algebra I. So individual needs were still allowed within a working system that prepared students for college level math unlike today. Someone has already mentioned that many colleges are now forced to 'catch up' students that never received the requisite math classes necessary for college courses.

I just completed a letter of recommendation for a very intelligent young woman. She has now completed two years of courses in the CA community college system and wants to transfer to Stanford to complete a major in philosophy. She suffers no mental or physical challenges. She never had Algebra even in high school because her high school abolished such need and she was 'free' to choose other subjects which 'interested' her more. She failed her first symbolic logic class - an absolute must-have course for a philosophy major. Her parents asked me to assist her as I was a philosophy major, love mathematics, and do extensive computer programming. When I discovered she had never had Algebra, I immediately recommended she complete a summer school sequence prior to retaking logic. She did so. She passed it after much difficulty. She retook logic, and she got an A with greater ease. She had not been prepared to think 'logically' during her secondary education. This is not an isolated example.

You want your children to have freedom and individualism? Then give them an excellent education when they are young. Require those capable, and that will be most with few exceptions, to work towards a higher level of education not just settling for less. Without algebra and other such subjects, students never fully develop critical thinking skills. Without algebra, logic seems impossible. The number of young people that I counsel, teach, and interact with today who are lacking in critical thinking skills and logic is astonishing. True freedom is not about choices. It is about responsibility - responsiveness to a reality-based world all around them. Give others that chance instead of platitudes about sameness and robots.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #40)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:48 AM

55. Extremely well said. n/t

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Response to TM99 (Reply #40)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:13 AM

62. Heck, the number of DU posters lacking in critical thinking and logic skills makes me sad sometimes.

But that's a subject for a different thread and forum.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #40)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:35 PM

82. How did she make it through the CA school system without taking Algebra?

As the OP says, it has been a requirement for 8th graders for 15 years.

High school graduation ed code requires two years of mathematics to graduate:
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/hs/hsgrmath.asp

"Minimum graduation requirements for mathematics. California Education Code (EC) specifies that beginning with the graduating class of 2003-04 and each subsequent year, pupils must meet the following minimum graduation requirements for mathematics:

1. Complete at least two courses in mathematics in grades nine through twelve.

2. One or a combination of these courses must meet or exceed the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I. As stated in EC 51224.5(c), if a student, prior to enrollment in grade nine, completes coursework in algebra that meets or exceeds the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I, as adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE), then the Algebra I graduation requirement is met.

Although the algebra requirement is met, the student must still complete two years of mathematics in grades nine through twelve as required by EC 51225.3(a)(1)(B). The determination if the coursework in algebra, taken prior to grade nine, meets or exceeds the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I, as adopted by the SBE, is a local decision. EC Section 51224."


Did she go to a private school?

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #82)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:55 PM

83. The young lady in question

is in her late 20's. She was originally from WA where she did attend private school and then moved to CA. I don't know all of the specifics. I only know she only completed as far as pre-algebra before graduating from high school.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:26 AM

69. Not true in most states. Algebra is ABSOLUTELY inappropriate for most middle school students.

It was not taught when I was in school until the TENTH GRADE.

Just because you took an advanced class doesn't mean everybody took it. They didn't. Many kids have been shoved into special education because of inappropriate curriculum.

Until you have read the works of Piaget, Erikson, and others who wrote extensively about child development, I won't even debate this subject with you.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #69)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:56 AM

76. Oh good god!

Did you even read what I wrote?

The poster argued that those who were in such a public system like I was where algebra was required before entry into high school had no 'individuality' in student needs. I took advanced classes because I was advanced. Other students did not. Yet all students who were not developmentally disabled still took at least Algebra in some form, shape, or fashion before entering high school.

Second, I am a psychologist and am quite well-versed in Piaget and Erickson. Are you well read in Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory? Or perhaps Vgotsky's challenge to Piaget in his cultural-historical theories? Are you cognizant of attachment theories put forth by Bowles and Ainsworth? I am certain that you must well read in the more recent dynamic systems theory of Dr. Thelen, one of my personal favorites due to its foundations in the mathematics of applied differential equations.

So yes, I would prefer you do refrain from a debate with me as you will likely be ill-equipped to do so.

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Response to cally (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:19 AM

66. FOIL/binomials foiled me...

But I use algebra every day in my work, so I guess most of it sank in.

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Response to cally (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:21 AM

67. Exactly. People who think this change is bad don't understand education or child development.

The purpose of algebra is that it helps students engage in abstract thinking and concepts. MANY if not most middle school students CANNOT grasp this until later on. Hell, many in high school can't grasp it.

I believe shoving algebra in early grades was a way to "weed" students out by setting them up for failure and tracking them into special education.

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Response to cally (Reply #6)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:28 AM

92. It is taught wrong. I say this decades after I suffered

through years of stress over Algebra. I relearned it on my own terms. Most teachers do not understand it and probably cannot explain its significance which is key to understanding it.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:32 PM

7. And a bunch of DUers will come along to defend this,

telling us that it's not necessary, that they never use it, that school is too much about memorization or some of equally stupid and short-sighted shit.

My stepkids are in the California school system and I assure you they will be learning algebra by that age; if not at school then at home.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:08 AM

27. Talk to Bill Gates about it, because he's the main force behind THE NEW NATIONAL STANDARDS,

 

COMMON CORE, THAT states are forced to sign onto in order to get certain federal funding.

Most have already signed on.

Read the fucking article. It's not about california. Every state in the union will wind up following the same standards if they want federal funding. It's coming from the education deformers, especially Bill Gates, who put up most of the money.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The past twenty years in the U.S. have also been termed the "Accountability Movement," as states are being held to mandatory tests of student achievement, which are expected to demonstrate a common core of knowledge that all citizens should have to be successful in this country....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Core_State_Standards_Initiative

FORTY-FIVE STATES HAVE ALREADY ADOPTED THESE STANDARDS. go bitch to bill gates. the only people 'defending it' are the corporatist education deformers.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:34 PM

8. We're in, gasp, Tennessee and my son is already in pre-calculus

in the eighth grade.

This shift makes no sense.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:10 PM

12. assuming he is in a class with other 8th graders

this is not a good idea. Yes, a few 8th graders can handle this but not enough for a whole class baring a huge pool from which you are drawing.

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Response to dsc (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:58 PM

23. Agreed.

I've never even heard of gifted students taking pre-Calculus that young.

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Response to dsc (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:57 PM

84. The all seem fine and yes, they are "honors" students

But, no one is failing, from my understanding.

There are about 15-20 students in this class.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #84)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:49 PM

86. there is also the problem of just what math will they be taking in high school

they would be in differential equations at the rate they are going. I find it a bit hard to believe that 12th graders are ready for that en masse.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:05 AM

26. that should be a choice for students that are ready for it

Neither one of my children would have been ready for pre-calculus in eighth grade. You have a gifted student, and I am glad he had the choice to take pre-calculus but if there were others in the class that weren't ready for it they should have the choice to take something different.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:09 AM

28. Tennessee, just like California, has adopted Common Core.

 

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:35 PM

9. *Everyone* who "hated" or "couldn't do" algebra, had a bad teacher.

I liked algebra at school, but thought history was boring and tedious.

Looking back, that is because I had a great math teacher and a terrible history teacher.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:58 PM

24. I have to disagree with that

Someone else on this thread said that math is a developmental subject. It's a subject people get at different ages and different stages of development. Some get it right away, for some it takes years, and some never get it. When I went back to college I had to take 3 remedial math classes, then I took algebra, then I took pre-calculus. I loved my pre-calculus teacher, but never made it to calculus. Our education system has to take into account that people are different. Treating them all the same is a recipe for disaster.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:38 PM

10. A good chunk of the 7th graders in our school take algebra.

Many of the 8th graders take geometry. Some kids advance further (both mine did - one to algebra 2 in 8th grade and one to pre-calc in 8th grade.) A small number of kids don't get to pre-algebra until 8th grade.

Kids that transfer in to our high school as freshman are often shocked that their same aged peers are already in algebra 2 as freshmen.

Our middle and high school math teachers got together a year ago and listened to each other. Turns out some of the kids that cruised through geometry had issues with the normal algebra 2 class (there is also an advanced section). The middle school decided to give most kids an extra class between either algebra and geometry or after geometry (if they were 8th graders this year). Now they have an advanced algebra section, because the algebra skills are darned important for the future math classes. There will always be a few kids that go further, but it isn't being pushed as the norm. Plus it is a pain to line up the middle school and high school schedules, I'm sure.

I personally think that algebra is important. And it's a good goal for most 8th graders.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:51 PM

11. the irony burns

I think for most kids algebra 1 in the 8th grade is fine, that said, the notion that taking algebra 1 in 8th grade is a predictor for college success is totally unproven. There is a strong correlation between taking algebra 1 in 8th grade and college success but it is equally possible that some factor is common to both taking algebra 1 in 8th grade and success in college for example parents who value education, or parents who have lots of money. It is very ironic to see bad math used to justify students taking upper level math courses. Incidentally, I took algebra 1 in 9th grade and survived just fine.

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Response to dsc (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:57 AM

46. I didn't see algebra until the 9th grade, either.

And, I went to supposedly "superior" Catholic schools through Grade 9. I have 2 degrees in the sciences. I really don't understand all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over this.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #46)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:19 AM

49. thank you.

These stories are really helping me right now. I'm so disillusioned with the education system right now. It's so disheartening. Sometimes it's downright depressing. It is nice to know my son does indeed still have a chance even if education policy makers think otherwise.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #49)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:43 AM

74. Well, your son has a couple natural advantages

And those would be a parent that recognizes the problems that our policy makers are causing, and who actually cares about his education. Too many parents really don't pay attention too closely to what's going on in school either due to lack of time or interest.

Also, one nice thing about modern times compared to just 20 years ago when I was entering my teens is that there are a ton of free resources for educating ourselves online for people who want to put in some extra effort outside of the school system. I had the opposite experience of the guy above. I was doing some Algebra in 6th grade but got put in a remedial class due to some grudge a math teacher had against my mother (she'd stuck up for a minority student he was bullying). Didn't get back to Algebra until 9th grade if I remember correctly, and by then I'd been pretty beat down and lost interest in school.

After getting some help for some other problems I'd developed, I'm just now getting further education in math and used free online material to help get caught back up so I can pursue a computer science degree I kind of feel like if I'd had access to the kind of internet I do today I'd have been able to "weather the storm" so to speak, and been much better off coming out of high school.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #49)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:22 PM

81. Of course, your son has a chance.

Just because he isn't getting Algebra in the 8th grade does not mean he will not get it at all. It will be available to him in high school, along with more advanced math classes, should he chose to take them. There is no rule that says he can't take things beyond the minimum requirements.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #46)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:17 AM

64. You have two science degrees?

It's not that hard to understand why people are upset if you read the posted part of the article.

There are two claims that probably have people upset:

"The change is controversial because success in Algebra I is the single best predictor of college graduation."

and

"They point to a report released last week showing that some schools are not placing black and Latino students in advanced math courses even when they're prepared."

I don't know if these claims are true because I don't study education statistics, but as someone with two science degrees you should probably know that your single anecdotal case is pretty irrelevant as an argument.

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Response to Bradical79 (Reply #64)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:11 PM

80. Yes. I do. And, I understand the concept of anecdotal data.

I also don't understand what difference it makes if someone takes algebra in the 8th grade vs. the 9th grade. It doesn't. That is my point. Now, take your smug, little "Gotcha!" game elsewhere. I am not interested in playing.

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Response to dsc (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:45 AM

53. Yeah, apparently they don't teach statistics and correlation v causation in HS either ;) n/t

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Response to dsc (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:17 AM

63. The idea is it's the way to get to the Calculus by 12th grade

Which all things being equal is a good thing

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:26 PM

14. Our descent towards Idiocracy continues.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:30 PM

15. I took algebra in 8th grade

My dad pushed the school into putting me into that class, even though the teacher didn't think that I was ready for it. Guess what? I struggled. A year later, I took it again in 9th grade, and did well. A lot of kids, even smart ones like me, don't have the spatial awareness needed for algebra in 8th grade. It's not a minority vs. white thing. It's not even a male vs. female thing. Some kids have the ability earlier than others.

And oh, BTW, I did just fine in college. Of course, I was a language major, not a math or science major.

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Response to AnnieBW (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:38 AM

37. Adoelscent brain development is well-known.

It has to do with the brain being wired up. It happens at different ages with different people.

Why some adults don't get it is beyond me.

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Response to AnnieBW (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:20 AM

47. thank you for your story

All these stories of people doing well despite not doing well in math or doing well in math later on are comforting to me. I have faith that my son will find something he is both good at and loves to do. I will give him that time to find it even if no one else will.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:47 PM

17. I had it in 7th grade, with physics, chemistry and biology

Nope, did not attend school in the US...

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #17)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:45 AM

90. We started

in 6th grade here in Canada. It was VERY basic, mind you but I remember finding it SO easy. I'm not even sure when my kids started. Because there are no separate classes (math is math, it's not split up until 12th grade when you can take calculus too) it's hard to know. Plus my kids are math whizzes so they never bring home homework because they always finish it at school, so I haven't looked for awhile. I do know that my 4th grader's class was having issues this year because they stuck some new stuff in the curriculum that their teacher was lamenting their little brains just weren't developed enough for it, but my child had no issues with it so I never really looked into what it was.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #90)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:21 AM

91. Americans, on purpoise, are dumbing down.

I tell people here what I took all through seventh, eight, etcetera..on the bright side, I was able to skip some college courses, n the down sde, my college chemistry book was the same one we used in seventh grade, with silly illustrations and all.

This...won't end well.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:51 PM

18. I was an eighth-grader in CA in 1984.

I was surprised when CA switched over to the algebra requirement for eighth-graders. The high school I teach at now is the same one I went to 10-12th grade, and now Chemistry is required to graduate. High school seems really very hard now. I don't know if I would graduate high school now, but yet I made it all the way through my Masters degree in college.

All of my friends went to college too, 99% graduating. I guess we'll just have to see.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:38 PM

19. That is a mistake

By the way, we had one kid in high school was so good at math he blew through calculus as a sophomore. The football coach hired him as team statistician the next year.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:44 PM

20. wait, what? Most states offer an alternative?

My special education student wasn't given a choice. I wonder if WA is doing the same thing CA was doing. I bet they're changing it because they see what a failure it is. That is the only saving grace I could possibly see from my son being forced to take a class that he was doomed to fail. Maybe his failing grade along with others will prove that this crap doesn't work.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:10 AM

29. Nothing to do with what states are doing individually. If they adopted common core (& 45

 

states have), this is what they are all doing.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:56 PM

22. Some students are not ready for Algebra in eighth grade.

Some students are better suited for Algebra in 9th grade. Where I'm at, you need Algebra to graduate, but only the gifted students end up taking it in eighth grade.

Sometimes, I think we put too much pressure on children.

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Response to musical_soul (Reply #22)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:07 PM

85. Just curious, at what grade do they start separating the "gifted" from the others where you are?

At my school growing up, that didn't even happen until HS. Because of that, there was no real way to both challenge the more advanced students and help those that required more attention at the same time. As a result, we all took algebra in 7th and 8th grade.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:54 AM

32. Oh shit...that means Rick Perry will

abandon simple arithmetic! Fucker cannot stand being outdone by another state! Thanks California!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:12 AM

33. Bad, bad decision. Elementary algebra provides students a gentle introduction to abstract thought.

Depriving them of this experience early on is rather short-sighted.

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Response to entanglement (Reply #33)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:14 AM

34. for those who want to take it they should have the choice to take it

Requiring students who may not be ready for it, is doing a disservice to them. What is wrong with letting those who want to take it, take it and letting those who are not ready for it, take something else? It's like everyone is worried about those who are ready for it. Why are more people not concerned about those who are not ready for it? Are the ones who aren't ready for it just suppose to fail? Oh well, too bad for them?

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #34)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:55 AM

35. Most 8th grade students should be able to take elementary algebra and

understand algebraic ideas with some work. It is a basic skill that students need to learn as soon as possible. If students have difficulty with elementary algebra in 8th grade, it is not because algebra is hard - it is on account of the fact that mathematics is cumulative, and their foundations are weak.

These problems should, ideally, be resolved within the K-12 system. However, all the evidence points to the fact that this doesn't happen. As a consequence, universities deal with mathematically ill-equipped college freshmen. Perhaps you are aware that remedial math classes in major state schools now teach stuff that should have been covered in 10th grade?

K-12 education (all education, really) is reeling under an all-out right-wing assault and the results are showing. Our students deserve better.


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Response to entanglement (Reply #35)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:06 AM

36. yeah, most is the key word

that's why it should be a choice not a requirement and there should be an alternative for those who are not ready. Let those who are ready for it take it. Let those who are not ready for it take something else. My son should have the option to take something else. I'm pissed and I will fight for my son's rights. My son has the right to take classes that fit is cognitive ability.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:43 AM

38. you don't seem to get it. you seem to think this is california's individual choice. no, it's not.

 

every state that signs on to common core has to do the same. so far, that's 45 states. yours is probably one of them.

New state standardized tests will focus on the alternate course -- the same one adopted by most states under the Common Core curriculum being rolled out across the nation.

Supporters welcome the change as more in line with current practice, of schools offering two tracks of math for eighth-graders. But critics fear that the new standard will let schools avoid offering rigorous courses for all.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:08 AM

41. Not surprising, and this is but the tip of the iceberg.

 

The fact is our public school curriculum has been dumbed down for years. To the point that in many schools in this country, what is now considered AP curriculum was considered normal curriculum thirty years ago.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:14 AM

42. Success in algebra is linked to graduation from college?

It's a good thing I sucked royally in algebra but was able to get three degrees... I hate math and my teachers didn't help (except my 10th grade geometry teacher). I need an answer for everything, and I always wanted to know WHY letters equalled numbers. This is true in in theoretical analyses of history that I have to do; I must have a definition.

Not one teacher could give me satisfactory answers.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #42)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:39 AM

44. thank you very much!



You sound like you have a very scientific mind. There are some very famous scientists who weren't very good at math. In fact a lot of the time a scientist who wasn't very good at math would confer with a scientist that was good at math to help prove his or her theory. This theory that you have to be good at algebra by the time you're in the 8th grade is a bunch of crap and I hope it gets proved wrong soon so we can stop subjecting our kids to this nonsense. The biggest problem we have right now is that kids aren't really allowed to learn, to ask questions like you did. They are expected to memorize a bunch of pre-recorded crap that some policy maker decided that the teachers should throw at them and to hell with the creativity that comes with asking questions. You don't have time question. You have to hurry up and get ready to pass this test or you won't graduate. It's sad what the kids and the world are missing out on. The world would be a more rich and wonderful place if kids were really allowed to break free from the boundaries we set on them.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #44)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:07 AM

61. I am sorry

but I must call bullshit on your statement that some very famous scientists weren't very good at math.

If you believe you are referring to Einstein and his supposed failures, that is a myth. The reality was that he passed math and science and failed all the other subjects while attempting to pass the university entrance exams. Einstein had an exceptional grasp on mathematics even if he occasionally asked others to look over his work. After all, many of Einstein's discoveries were done with others who assisted him in numerous ways.

Perhaps you think it was Bell or Edison? No, they had dyslexia. Once they were old enough to deal with it, they both excelled in math and went on to do their respective scientific breakthroughs and inventions.

Perhaps you think because Darwin laments a youthful disdain for mathematics that he was not very good at it? Sorry, his experiments with wildflowers laid the foundation for modern statistics and made him an early leader in the subfield of experimental design. Darwin later wrote "I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense." He recognized as a scientist how absolutely important mathematics is for the study and advancement of science.

All subjects from math to science to language to the arts are vitally important for a well educated populace. Yet Americans seem to revel in their disdain for math in particular. Even the most advanced calculus is challenging and yet easy if a firm and consistent mathematical foundation has been laid. Like any subject one starts from the beginning with small steps that build upon one another until advance topics are approached with confidence and ease.

I may agree with you that the current propensity for teaching for test taking is indeed not about the true acquisition of knowledge. I always encourage creativity and curiosity. However, I firmly disagree as an educator, a psychologist, and an observer of life that children most assuredly do require boundaries. Good healthy boundaries coupled with appropriate discipline and commitment should not be an anathema somehow robbing children of joy, richness, or wonder. Once we begin the transition from childhood into adulthood then we begin to break free from those that may seem restrictive so that we may then create those that work best for us as individuating adults.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:25 AM

43. This is a mistake.

I had algebra lite in 7th grade and algebra in 8th. I also had it freshman year in high school.

Seems like a definite dumbing down.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:44 AM

45. It's clear to me know why Obama has been able to get away with his stance on education

Last edited Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:02 AM - Edit history (1)

Because republicans and democrats both agree that kids who struggle should be forced to catch up or else. I guess I really am alone. That's okay. I will do whatever I have to do to help my kid, and if that means pulling him out of public school and putting him in private school or homeschooling I will. I will not sacrifice my kid for some pie in the sky dream everyone has about every kid being exactly the same. Geez, no wonder kids drop out of school. No one cares about them. So nice to know. Well at least my kid will know I care about him. I will never stop fighting for him. And might I add as a parent of a an 8th grade special education student who has a 5th/6th grade level understanding of math, I really appreciate the term dumbing down of America. If your kid excels and is good at math and wants to take algebra I say good for them. But to say that if all kids don't take algebra by 8th grade then we are dumbing down America is an insult to those who truly do struggle through no fault of their own.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #45)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:58 AM

57. This is why we should be seperating kids by ability

 

I know my second grader reads at a fourth grade level. She struggles with math though. It's a shame we can't find a way to challenge all kids at their own level to make them all learn faster. Instead we challenge only the slowest kids in the class (now always the same ones depending on subject material) and make the rest sit there all day.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:45 AM

48. I remember when those math standards were adopted in CA.

I was teaching there then.

A committee made up of educators presented some standards; the governor didn't like them, threw them out, and had his own select committee write new standards. I was introduced to the new standards at a (NCTM) conference.

What happened was that, in practical effect, math curriculum was pushed down a year, starting in kindergarten.

Many of the standards were developmentally inappropriate for the age they were written for. Not all.

I don't have a problem with moving formal algebra back to 9th grade, if the strands are left in the lower grades. As long as students still take it.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:38 AM

50. I took algebra in the 8th grade, but it was a fight to get me in..

At the time, in Virginia, algebra was considered a 'high school' course usually taught to 9th graders (our county had no middle schools, but a weird junior high with 8th and 9th graders and high school was 10th, 11th, and 12th.)

They had two math tracks- algebra, algebra II, and geometry for one, algebra, algebra II, trig, and calculus for the other. I *think* they also had a pre-algebra class, but I could be mistaken.

I had a really great vice-principal at our elementary school, who tutored some of us in the 7th grade in what would today be called pre-algebra.

I bucked the system and took algebra in 8th, geometry in 9th, algebra II in 10th, trig in 11th, and calculus in 12th. Yeah, I was a bit of a geek.

I didn't know that states had pushed algebra back a grade. Kinda makes me sad, as I consider algebra a vital life skill (yes, you really do use it often- how many times have you compared prices at the supermarket, and figured out the price per ounce to see if this deal is better than that one..)

Math geek alert:

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #50)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:47 AM

54. I'm glad for you but not everybody is at that level

My daughter is taking pre-cal. I'm glad she will be able to take calculus her first year of college. My son probably will not be taking calculus his first year of college. And I'm okay with that. I have wonderfully bright autistic son who learns at his own pace. I think the posts on this thread about people who have done horrible in math or who learned math later and still went on to success are really helping me calm down about this whole situation. My son learns at a different rate than others, and you know what? That's okay.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #54)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:29 AM

89. You're a great parent. Of course it's okay.

Education isn't a race. It's much more important to learn the material well than it is to learn it early or to learn it quickly. So many young students who enter college don't finish, and in many cases it's because they tried to do too much too fast and fell on their faces, got discouraged and quit. I think it's much better to take extra time, if it's needed.

I'm another one of those people who flunked algebra in ninth grade and did very well with it later on, when I went to college. Nothing was wrong with me, and the teacher was good - she and I worked and worked trying to get me to understand algebra. I just wasn't ready for it yet in ninth grade.

My kid learned at a different pace than most of the others, too. She learned in spurts - when she was "on" she'd make extremely rapid progress in a short time, followed by a long "off" period in which progress pretty much just stopped. Her reading in particular was like that. She'd go "on", jump a grade level or two in a matter of a few weeks, and then not improve at all for six or eight or ten months. Weird. It freaked out a few of her teachers. She was like that until she got to be about 14.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:40 AM

51. I hated algebra but I think that's INSANE.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:44 AM

52. When the US is on track for #1 for "Idiocracy," why should CA get in the say. Go USA !!!

Go USA !!! Go USA !!! #1 at the bottom.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:57 AM

56. The owners don't a population capable of critical thinking. They want obedient workers.

 



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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #56)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 03:20 AM

87. Some of those obedient workers need to know trig.

I for one could never figure out why we would need it exactly until I got into manufacturing where it actually mattered.

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Response to Sirveri (Reply #87)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 03:34 AM

88. I loved Trig, thought it was fun. But being proficient at it falls into George's category

 

of being just smart enough to work the machines and has no correlation with critical thinking.

JPL is full of guys that run calculus problems in their heads for fun but still don't get why so many people around the world hate us.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:01 AM

58. okay I just got my sanity back thanks to the stories of those

who have gone on to success despite not doing well in math or learning it later on, but I can't take many more posts defending the policies that every child must learn exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. So, I want to thank those who posted their stories. You really have helped me. Now, I think for my sanity's sake I better trash this thread.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:04 AM

60. I support this move

There is this weird fascination that every student must go to college. Someone with a 90 IQ will never do well at algebra - they just lack the intellectual horsepower. They will get lost and frustrated. Worse, it will be a colossal waste of their time and the teachers time.

Every student should be given a curriculum that suits their abilities. I fully support tracking students with the caveat that the students be able to move among tracks if they demonstrate that they either can't keep up or can do the work of a higher track. When all students take the same classes the bright are bored and the dull are lost and frustrated.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:19 AM

65. Good news. It is developmentally inappropriate for most students.

Algebra belongs in high school, not in middle school where many children fail it and are shoved into special education when they don't actually belong there.

Where I used to teach, SEVENTH graders were being forced to learn algebra as in equations when it was completely inappropriate.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:23 AM

68. Algebra was offered in 8th grade, but only for "smart" kids

Most kids took it in 9th grade. I guess I'm not seeing what the hub-bub is about...
This was in TX.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:32 AM

73. I absolutely hated algebra in 8th grade.

 

But I wouldn't want to see it cut. It has been very useful to me since then.

Why would anyone cut it???

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:55 AM

75. More race to the bottom for education.

I remember when I was in middle school, we had to take placement tests for Math and English. We were either put in Pre-Algebra or Algebra I depending on our skills. I've never been great at Algebra, so being put in Pre-Algebra really helped me. I feel like I was in the last generation where anyone cared about education and had high expectations for the kids.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:56 AM

77. i did`t have algebra in 8th grade.

i graduated from 8th grade in 1961. i tried algebra in high school and community college and never passed the course. my brain ain`t wired for math....!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:04 AM

79. I have an idea

how about students take algebra when they show mastery in more basic math. Students advance in this nation based on a calendar and age not acquired skills and mastery. If a 5th grader shows mastery put them in algebra if a tenth grader is struggling in basic math keep them in basic math until mastery is proven.

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