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Math Program Needs Support From Businesses

June 27, 1993

* We all know that education in Los Angeles is in the midst of a financial crisis. For the past few years we have heard that the only way that this problem is going to be solved is for local businesses to team up with our schools to educate future employees. Sounds like a great idea.

Now reality has set in.

This year John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley has been involved in an innovative program to teach algebra. It is a self-paced computerized program called Learning Logic. There are only 21 schools in the country using this system.

To say that this program is on the cutting edge of technological and educational reform is an understatement. The real test is whether it is successful. In the short time that it has been at the school, the percentage of students passing the first semester of algebra increased by 26%. Classroom discipline problems have dropped to almost zero, and student attitudes have changed. For the first time in most of our students' lives, they are succeeding in math.

So much for the good news. Now the bad. This highly successful program is about to die because of lack of funds. We have written to more than 20 corporations and foundations asking for support, and we have been turned down by each one. As with any program, if there is no money, there is no program.

It is unfortunate that when a truly successful program comes along, it gets thrown onto the scrap heap because of lack of support. We urge businesses throughout our city not to give only lip service to the idea of being partners with the school district in supporting education, but to put their money where their mouth is and financially support effective programs.

JOHN FORD

HARRIETTE HINDERSTEIN

Sun Valley

The writers are teachers at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School.

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