Ever read something that makes you go “Huh?”

California no longer requiring eighth graders to take Algebra

California will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college.

Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.

So California is lowering their standards. What else is new?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is sponsored by the National Governor’s Association, is an effort to unify diverse state education curricula. Forty-five other states and the District of Columbia have signed on so far.

Wait, so we lowered them to match the rest of the country? Well that’s not so bad, is it?

But some education experts worry that the change will further damage struggling students’ college chances, since early proficiency in Algebra I is an excellent predictor of college graduation, according to the Mercury News.

Black and Latino students in California are significantly more likely to fail eighth-grade algebra, and 80 percent of those who fail it once will fail it again when they take it in high school.

A study published by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area claims that some minority students who score well enough to place into advanced math classes are often mistakenly held back.

“School districts have been disproportionately requiring minority students to repeat Algebra I even after they scored proficient or advanced on the Algebra I California standardized tests,” said Kimberly Thomas Rapp, executive director of the committee, in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The new standard is a step back for California, and may leave students, particularly minority and low-income students, unprepared for college, said Rapp.


Is the problem that we aren’t pushing kids enough, or that too many black and Latino kids are failing algebra? Or is it that black and Latino kids are being required to re-take algebra even though they passed it?

If I was grading this essay I would have to give it an “F”. Maybe the author failed 8th grade English composition.


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105 Responses to Huh?

  1. If I was grading this essay I would have to give it an “F”. Maybe the author failed 8th grade English composition.

    Ha! Me too. But you know, we’ll just keep lowering standards until the entire country is ghettofied. It’s so much easier than requiring teachers at inner city schools to go through professional evaluations.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    Cynthia Brim Insanity Plea: Cook County Judge Found Not Guilty Of Battery By Reason Of Insanity

    An insanity plea has kept Cynthia Brim out of jail and in her role as Cook County Judge—albeit on suspension over a battery charge.

    After lengthy testimony Monday, Judge Liam Brennan found Brim not guilty of pushing a sheriff’s deputy by reason of insanity, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    Brim has been on suspension since the March 9, 2011 incident in which she shoved the sheriff’s deputy and threw keys during a bizarre meltdown outside the Daley Center court complex. However, Brim wants to get back to work even as she continues to collect her $182,000 annual salary, reports ABC Chicago.

    Extensive testimony during the one-day trial revealed many of the judge’s mental health woes, including a history of five hospitalizations for psychotic episodes, four of which occurred during her time on the bench. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, each of the episodes was tied to Brim being off her medications at the time.

    In November, Brim was handily reelected to the bench after garnering slightly more than 60 percent of yes votes required for retention. At Brim’s court hearing the day after her election victory, her attorney James Montgomery told the court Brim suffers from bipolar disorder and was “legally insane” at the time of the attack.


  3. angienc (D) says:

    The Algebra taught in 8th grade and even high schools is elementary Algebra, not abstract Algebra — so it is pretty basic. By 8th grade students should be able to handle it — seriously, what else are they going to be teaching instead — arithmetic?

    Actually writing that just now it occurs to me that most students today aren’t even really learning arithmetic either — elementary Algebra is probably too much to ask.

    • votermom says:

      The way the charter school my kids go to teach math, starting from grade school, is that they will introduce a concept, then come back to it later. For example, telling time – they do a bit of it in Kinder, more in 1st grade etc.

      I am not too sure when she started, but my 6th grader has been using variables in problem solving for a couple of years now. Last night in her homework she was setting up equations and solving for x.

      When they go into middle school (7th grade), the get split up based on their grades – some kids will go into pre-algebra, some will go into algebra. I think there may be a remedial class also.

    • myiq2xu says:

      A lot of kids reach adulthood without mastering basic math.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Maybe they should just be counting with their fingers and toes. Maybe we should give them pacifiers and let them wear diapers. Schooling is soooo hard.

      • Looking back across the years 🙂 I now realize problem solving skills learned in basic algebra serve me well in other aspects of life. So its all good to not teach to today’s students. They are always able to learn that on their own, later, in prison or ……..

      • Constance says:

        My kids went to Catholic grade school but they taught kindergarten through second grade with “math manipulatives” each kid had their own fairly big tub of various things like a bunch of beads or rocks or Popsicle sticks and they moved them around to show math problems. It seemed to work pretty well to get general concepts across and the kids liked the objects.

    • DandyTiger says:

      In fairness, the way math is taught is atrocious. But still, basic arithmetic and basic algebra. How many fingers to most humans have? How many humans are in the class? How many fingers are likely to be in the class today? That’s about the level these kids are having trouble with. Jeebus.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Algebra 101: arithmetic is an algebra. So you already know the basics. The arithmetic operators are algebra operators over the set of numbers. Now that you have the basic idea, we can make up new algebras just like arithmetic. We’ll make pretty symbols for the + like one, for the * like one, etc. And we’ll make up groupings of things that are like the set of numbers. Done and done.

    • ROFL! By 8th grade?
      I am 56 and STILL can’t handle it. I hate it. I loathe it. I fought with the college when I went as an adult learner to get out of it. (I won that fight too- they used the old “You’re going to need it later” excuse. Uhm. NO.I won’t.)
      To me, Algebra takes something simple- say 24 + 12 = 36 and turns it into an unrecognizable jumble of letters.
      Letters make words. 1 = 1. Not x, y or any other letter.

      • angienc (D) says:

        You just haven’t been taught math properly. My mom deals with the students all the time who have what she calls mathphobia because of the lousy way math is taught — mainly by teachers who don’t really understand it themselves.

        • Part of what I hate(d) about it is the gd repetition. Doing pages and pages and pages of the same exercise over and over. And still never being able to figure out which the hell equation the frigging word problem wanted.
          And I maintain X is a letter. 1,2,3……..infinity are numbers.
          I can add, subtract, multiply and divide. The old fashioned way- without a calculator.
          I have no need of algebra.
          The only “equation” I have ever used is the one for food and labor cost. Cost over sales = your food cost percentage. Easy peasy. That’s just plain old arithmetic. Division. lol
          But then I hated having to write out spelling words twenty times each. Why? I had it cold after writing it twice. The making up a sentence with the word part I always liked. lol

      • myiq2xu says:

        Algebra isn’t math – it’s logical reasoning.

        Once I figured that out algebra was easy.

        Except for the math part.

  4. myiq2xu says:

  5. myiq2xu says:


    In the politically correct world we are now forced to live in, courtesy of the progressive left, a second-grade student at Mary Blair Elementary School in Loveland, Colo., has been suspended for throwing an “imaginary grenade.”

    “The 7-year-old says he was trying to save the world. But school administrators say he broke a key rule during his pretend play,” KDVR-TV reported.

    What is the key rule? No real or play fighting.


    • wmcb says:

      An 8 year old threw an imaginary grenade at “a big box of Evil” that was going to destroy the world. How horrible. We must stamp out that kind of initiative and individualism and leadership and imagination at all cost.

    • votermom says:

      I feel really bad for this generation of kids. Ugh.

    • angienc (D) says:

      I heard about this yesterday — the TV was on in the background while I was doing some other things & when I heard this story I actually stopped in my tracks and said out loud (to no one) “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY!?!?!?!?!”

    • John Denney says:

      I told my wife we need to open a boys school.
      “Yes! You can play army here during recess! and football and dodgeball!
      And read really good books! And do fun math and science experiments!”
      “And shout!”

  6. myiq2xu says:

    I just discovered that I have been blocked by @BuzzFeedAndrew

    I feel special.

  7. votermom says:

    Check this out

  8. ROFL! Back in my stone age education days- you know those right? The days when illiterates DID NOT graduate? Anyway- back then we did not take Algebra until 9th grade. And ONLY if you were in the college track. 9th grade Algebra, 10th grade Geometry. Then on to Calculus.
    Funny that system. No trophies for breathing. A “C” grade was a “C” grade- 70-79. They still gave out F’s. Passing grades meant something.
    IMO it worked much much better then. Everyone with whom I started first grade learned to read, write and add and subtract or you did NOT get promoted to 2nd grade.
    Now kids that can’t read, can’t add, can’t subtract and don’t know their times tables are being promoted right through the grades- because keeping them back would- OH NOOOOZ! damage their self esteem.
    Let’s get the basics down before we worry about abstract math. How about we teach them to tell time and count money. Basic math. Too many kids are graduating and can’t make change for a 20. But they took algebra?

    • Used to conduct cashier-clerk hiring interviews for a public agency which handles money with every transaction. First separator was “making change”. Should have been drooling or brushing teeth, but figuring out even dollar amounts of change was the best way to thin the herd. Then the union made us automate the change process and throw out that requirement. Rapidly downhill after that.

    • jjmtacoma says:

      I volunteer in my local public elementary school. There are a small handful of 3rd graders who read below grade level and they get extra reading help every day from volunteers and some also go to LAP (learning assistance program) to try to get them up to grade level.

      The school splits kids into reading classes for those reading “above grade level”, “at grade level” and “below grade level” to specialize the instruction.

      The kids are tested every couple months and moved if they have changed reading levels. We have moved several kids up to the grade-level reading class with the extra attention.

      For math, what I am seeing in the 3rd grade class is more advanced than the math I was doing as a kid. The program looks really good for understanding how numbers work but in spite of that, the same kids struggling with reading are also struggling with math. They get extra help there too, though not as much.

      The one big difference now is that there isn’t a special education class that pulls these kids out of the regular ed classroom. We had special education all the way through high school but I don’t know how they graduated – or if they did because they were separated.

  9. votermom says:

  10. votermom says:

  11. DeniseVB says:

    I’m blaming this post on Accuweather, stay safe my NE friends w/some helpful hints 😉

  12. driguana says:

    Basic Algebra goes first, then English composition, then biology, chemistry and physics, in that order….sad. In most of our schools around here we’ve already lost music, art and phys ed….phys ed?? no wonder kids are fat! So what’s left?…..rewritten social studies!

    • It is sad. And to expand on my comment above- we desperately need to find some way of bringing back the things that worked that were thrown out in the quest for dumbing down to make all the kids feel like they were special little snowflakes.
      There may have been some problems with “tracking” kids- but it sure worked better than this system. Classrooms now revolve around the slowest kid in the room. This is NOT working. We are producing ever dumber graduating classes.
      The smartest kids used to be grouped with their peers. They were given the challenging work. They were not stuck in classrooms with kids who are 12 yrs old and can’t read beyond Dr Suess (if they can read at all!)
      Not every child is going to college. The old college, business and general tracks worked for most kids. Some fell through the cracks, some were placed above or below their levels for sure. Now ALL kids are assumed to be equally bright, which is just not true.
      This is NOT working out for our country. We have gone from being among the best in the world to mediocrity.

      • votermom says:

        School choice. Teachers unions have a monopoly; until we break that there will be no improvement.

        • True story. And diversify the teaching pool, too. There’s no reason in this day and age that 80% of teachers need to be female.

        • votermom says:

          Let schools compete for good teachers.

        • If you think the average classroom teacher has any say-so on how her school is run, or what is taught, you are dreaming. They are as much victims of the “educations system” as their students IN MOST CASES. Many are willing victims, possibly, but still involved in something that provides a lifeline without their control. So they simply hang on. Not defending their bad decisions, just recognizing their motivations.

          Agree about the shortage of male teachers, but “teaching” is the best choice of professions relative to working hours for mothers of young children. We have so many single moms that must work to put roofs overhead and bread on table, it’s no wonder they flock to it. One of my daughters was in that (self-induced) bind and worked herself out of it by go to teaching from a former occupation. For her it was a personal sacrifice but choice she made to provide for her son.

        • votermom says:

          I think the teachers will be better off without a union, frankly.

      • And how about we return to teachers actually having a degree in a SUBJECT before they go and take all the psycho babble classroom management, adolescent pysch, curriculum planning classes?
        My older sister is certified to teach up to 6th grade. With a liberal arts undergrad degree. I took more English, History, Science, Math and Language courses than she. But she can teach.
        Don’t know how many times I sent back one of my children’s test. Correcting the teachers corrections. And showing the proofs.

        • myiq2xu says:

          What’s the point when teachers have no control over the curriculum or lesson plans?

        • yttik says:

          I’m starting to believe we actually need LESS educated teachers. They’re all learning that psycho babble, along with “sustainability” and “curriculum matrix input skills.” Nobody knows how to teach kids the basics anymore. Or heaven forbid, teach kids how to think and learn for themselves.

          • myiq2xu says:

            When I was in college I was dating a woman who was studying for a teaching credential. She had to take a lot of weird classes.

            After she got her BA she had to take the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) before she could teach. I took it too so I could substitute teach as a part time job while I was in law school. We both passed. I thought it was really easy.) Everyone who takes it is a senior or higher in college, but:

            Because of the CBEST, many non-white teachers have been barred from working with public school students, regardless of how successful they were in the classroom. California state records show that the pass rate for whites is 80%, but only 35% for African-Americans, 49% for Latinos, and 53% for Asians. Ethnic minority students are currently estimated to comprise 60% of the states public school population, and linguistic minorities make up over 30% of California public school students.

    • piper says:

      Milwaukee has a residency requirement for teachers, but they have had a difficult time filling all their slots. So they hire people who don’t have a college degree with the provisions that they will be mentored by certified teachers in their buildings and eventually obtain a BS in education. Don’t ask about student achievement or graduation rates.

    • leslie says:

      Heard on Chicago morning news yesterday ” Sandi Jackson is complaining that Jesse has thrown her under the bus”.
      (She’s not happy.)

      Also heard that Michelle is coming to Hadiya’s funeral (the teen who played in the band at the inauguration and was killed last week). The reporter somberly said “That should add weight to the funeral”.
      (I’m not kidding.)

  13. votermom says:

    Anonymous equivalation

  14. SHV says:

    “Basic Algebra goes first, then English composition, then biology, chemistry and physics,”
    It’s been going on for a long time. In the 60’s “Humanize medicine” was an education goal. This was done by not requiring too many of those difficult science courses to get into Med. school. Recently, there is a push to “dumb down” college calculus courses since freshman calculus, especially for engineers, seems to encourage many aspiring engineers to change majors to “dance interpretation”, etc.

  15. HELENK says:

    this was under the radar for a while, now more and more people are beginning to notice and question.
    why is backtrack’s homeland security buying so much ammunition

  16. HELENK says:

    some schools will no longer teach cursive writing. So all things in the future will be written on a computer. So think what will happen when there is a power outage and no batteries available. the kids will not be able to write anything. real forward thinking there

    • I keep seeing that and I always wonder how they will sign their names to legal documents like contracts, driver’s license, mortgage etc.
      Make their mark like in the bad old days?
      “Sign Here” “x” ?

      • HELENK says:

        since as my grand daughter tells me I am electronically challenged can some one here write a resume of the future? think about all the computer short cuts like LMAO or OMG. would you hire someone with the resume?

  17. votermom says:

  18. angienc (D) says:

    Speaking of what’s being taught in school these days, seems NCSU used mandatory student fees to buy but plugs and artificial vaginas (seriously, WTF are these things — actually, I don’t want to know) for a “dirty bingo” campus event:

    Remember that link from earlier with Dr. Carson talking about moral decay destroying us from within as happened with Rome?

  19. myiq2xu says:

  20. wmcb says:

    Right one (hopefully)

  21. yttik says:

    We are dumbing down education so much…kids are bored to tears. We lower our standards thinking more kids will pass but what really happens is that more and more start dropping out and giving up. Everybody wants a challenge and there is nothing more discouraging than being forced to relearn the same old crap, over and over again.

    At my school, the 8th graders are in the same math level they were in back in 4th grade. For the first three years they were all A’s, but now they’re all C’s and D’s and some are failing. What’s changed? Their attention span and excitement about learning.

  22. piper says:

    Will have to import people to do all the jobs our students can’t do just like we import all those illegals to do the jobs our citizens refuse to do.

    Okay, back to laundry.

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