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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

December 17, 1999

Gov. Gray Davis and his educational experts have now discovered that establishing a high school graduation exam that tests algebra skills somehow conflicts with the long-standing state policy that algebra is not required to graduate from high school (Dec. 10). Maybe the governor and his experts on education should do their homework before they set about to write school tests. THOMAS PARKER La Canada

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

April 15, 2013 |

San Jose State University's experiment in offering low-cost, entry-level online classes for credit will expand this summer with two new courses and increased enrollment, officials announced Monday. The university partnered earlier this year with the Silicon Valley online education provider Udacity to offer three popular “gateway” courses -- remedial math, college-level algebra and elementary statistics -- that are in high demand for students...

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NEWS

January 11, 2011 |

Should all secondary school students learn CPR? That's what an American Heart Assn. advisory argued Monday. Included in the ideal curriculum : how to recognize an emergency, how to deliver chest compressions, how to use automated external defibrillators -- and plenty of (simulated) opportunity to practice the skills. It’s unclear how many schools are listening, though. Although 36 states have laws “encouraging” such training, the advisory says, it appears CPR has yet to be embraced as part of the standard collective lesson plan.

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

September 1, 2012 |

California students continued making strides on standardized English and math tests based on results released Friday, but less than half of the students in Los Angeles are performing at grade level. In all, 57% of California students scored as proficient or better in English and 51% scored that high in math. In the L.A. Unified School District, those numbers were 48% in English and 45% in math. "The good news has been the steady progress despite the chaos of budget cuts," state Supt.

OPINION

November 8, 2008

Re "A new formula for algebra," editorial, Oct. 31 Thank you for the clear and informative editorial that makes such an excellent case for rescinding the eighth-grade algebra requirement. When I heard there would be more education cuts, I wondered how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Board of Education were going to justify keeping the mandate. My two children are both taking algebra, but one is in middle school and the other is in high school. They are learning algebra at the right time for each of them.

OPINION

May 7, 2004

Several people have written letters proclaiming that because they have never needed algebra in their everyday lives, students should not be forced to take it. Might the same thing be said for English literature and world history? If direct relevance to the real world is the only reason we send children to school, then any education after middle school is unnecessary. But, as we all know, there are other reasons to learn things. The critical-thinking skills developed by studying a variety of subjects have far more value than simply being able to solve an equation.

OPINION

May 1, 2004

Re "Schools Get Waivers for Algebra Law," April 26: Thirteen thousand high school seniors in California -- 4% of the total number of seniors -- have not been taught the algebra required by law for them to graduate high school. But that's OK. Their school districts "overlooked" this rule, and since it's "unfair" to "punish" these students because of mistakes adults made, these 13,000 seniors will get their diplomas without having to meet the algebra requirement. Where do I, as a taxpayer, sign up to get a refund of my taxes that were supposedly used to teach these children algebra?

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

August 13, 2008 |

The state schools chief joined academics, school officials and labor groups Tuesday in calling on the governor to set aside $3.1 billion to help all eighth-graders succeed in algebra. The call for funding by state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell comes one month after the state Board of Education sided with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to require that eighth-graders be tested in algebra within three years. In 2007, 52% of eighth-graders took algebra, with 38% testing as proficient.

OPINION

October 27, 2003

In "Rising to the Equation" (editorial, Oct. 22) you wrote: "Want to figure out whether you can afford the mortgage on your dream house? That's algebra. Figure out the mix of chemicals for the swimming pool? Estimate your taxes?" None of those tasks requires algebra. Mortgage tables can easily be found on the Internet, a pool chemical mix involves little more than elementary proportions and arithmetic, and tax estimation does not require anything more than simple projection. If the ability to handle those "everyday situations" constitutes algebra, then it will be easy for schools to have almost all students pass a special class.

OPINION

October 12, 2003

Re "No Algebra, No Graduation," Oct. 6: Although I took two years of algebra, including advanced algebra when in high school more than 40 years ago, I have never found a use for it in any job I have held. Students will need basic arithmetic, however. A study by the San Diego Community College District discovered that both blue-collar and white-collar employers wanted workers who could interpret written documents and write paragraphs that were clear and intelligible. They also wanted workers who could follow instructions and work in groups.

NEWS

January 11, 2011 |

Should all secondary school students learn CPR? That's what an American Heart Assn. advisory argued Monday. Included in the ideal curriculum : how to recognize an emergency, how to deliver chest compressions, how to use automated external defibrillators -- and plenty of (simulated) opportunity to practice the skills. It’s unclear how many schools are listening, though. Although 36 states have laws “encouraging” such training, the advisory says, it appears CPR has yet to be embraced as part of the standard collective lesson plan.

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

November 29, 2009 |

Five mornings a week, Bruce Kravets, 66, puts on a coat and tie, straps on his helmet and bikes to work at Palms Middle School on L.A.'s Westside, where he teaches math. For free. Last June, after 42 years of teaching, Kravets retired. He'd put so much money into his retirement fund over the decades, his monthly compensation if he stepped down would be greater than his regular pay. But that didn't mean he was ready to abandon teaching. His plan was to stay on and teach for no salary, because he couldn't think of anything more fun or rewarding than teaching algebra, geometry, logic and stage craft.

NATIONAL

June 10, 2009 |

Flanked by hand-drawn posters about terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan, Tina Edler solemnly addressed her ninth-grade students. "One new vocabulary word today is 'agro-terrorism,' " she said. The meaning -- deliberate sabotage of agriculture or food supplies -- flashed on a screen behind her. Opening their school-issued laptops, the teens quickly found a possible example on the Internet.

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

March 12, 2009 |

The U.S. attorney decided this week not to retry former Los Angeles Unified School District math teacher Matthias Vheru, who was acquitted last month of conning the district into placing a $3.7-million order for an algebra textbook that he wrote without disclosing his financial interest in the transaction. A mistrial was declared after the jury was hung 11 to 1 in favor of acquitting Vheru, who is now teaching math at Knight High School in Palmdale and mentoring other teachers, according to the school.

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

January 28, 2009 |

The Los Angeles teachers union and the city's school district are battling over a district practice that, a Times' analysis suggests, contributes to higher scores on state tests. The practice is "periodic assessments," a bureaucratic name for exams administered by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The goal is to give teachers insight into what students need to learn while there remains time in the current school year to adjust instruction.

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL

December 20, 2008 |

A Sacramento Superior Court judge Friday blocked a controversial state plan requiring that all California eighth-graders be tested in algebra. The state's algebra mandate would have been the most ambitious in the nation. The state Board of Education approved the high-reaching goal in July as a way to push school districts into having all students enroll in algebra by the end of the eighth grade. State board president Ted Mitchell vowed to appeal the decision.

NEWS

September 7, 1997 |

OK, the recipe says it serves four, but you've got 11 coming to dinner. Now what? Few cooks would be stymied by this problem. They'd just use a pinch of . . . algebra? Yes, algebra, that thing Mr. Whozit in math class said would come in handy sometime. You may have forgotten the quadratic equation, but because of algebra, you realize your recipe problem is really a simple ratio--11 servings to 4. Just multiply each ingredient by eleven-fourths (or 2.75) and the problem is solved.

NEWS

June 6, 2001 |

Factoring polynomials. Graphing inequalities. Solving for x. The very language of algebra makes sweat pop out on the palms of the Mathis family of Woodland Hills. "I can't even begin to get near it," said Lynette Mathis, talking of her 13-year-old son's homework. Her husband's math skills, though more robust, also fall short. The Mathises are far from alone. Anxiety about algebra is on the rise, reflecting the higher stakes attached to this sorest of subjects.

OPINION

November 8, 2008

Re "A new formula for algebra," editorial, Oct. 31 Thank you for the clear and informative editorial that makes such an excellent case for rescinding the eighth-grade algebra requirement. When I heard there would be more education cuts, I wondered how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Board of Education were going to justify keeping the mandate. My two children are both taking algebra, but one is in middle school and the other is in high school. They are learning algebra at the right time for each of them.

OPINION

October 31, 2008

Everybody commits a rash, thoughtless act now and again. But how often do we get a chance to take it back? The state Board of Education was just handed that opportunity and should not squander it. The board should consider a judge's temporary restraining order as a gift and rescind its decision to require that all eighth-graders take algebra within three years. It was a foolish and punitive decision when it was made in July, pushed aggressively by Gov.