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.
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.
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.
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.
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.