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Journal of No. 118


Read the paper along with Mike @ 11:43 am

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The horror of math education in LAUSD (well, California in general). Passing algebra is now required for graduation in California. And the standards in LAUSD are getting even stricter. This leads to thousands of kids failing algebra over and over again and dropping out. I kept shouting things at the article:

In the fall of 2004, 48,000 ninth-graders took beginning algebra; 44% flunked, nearly twice the failure rate as in English. Seventeen percent finished with Ds. Among those who repeated the class in the spring, nearly three-quarters flunked again.
Yikes!

Former board President Jose Huizar introduced this latest round of requirements... "Yes, there will be dropouts. But I'm looking at the glass half full."

Dumbshit!

Shane Sauby, who worked as an attorney and stockbroker before becoming a teacher, volunteered to teach the students confronting first-year algebra for a second, third or fourth time. He thought he could reach them.

Hero!

But, Sauby said, many of his students ignored homework, rarely studied for tests and often skipped class.
Dumbshits!

Like other schools in the nation's second-largest district, Birmingham High deals with failing students by shuttling them back into algebra, often with the same teachers.
Stupid!

Tina, who says math has mystified her since she first saw fractions in elementary school, spends class time writing in her journal, chatting with friends or snapping pictures of herself with her cellphone.
WTF?

Last fall, the school scheduled 17 classes of up to 40 students each for those repeating first-semester algebra.
Oh, I see.

"I got through a year of Vietnam," he said, "so I tell myself every day I can get through 53 minutes of fifth period…. I don't know if I am making a difference with a single kid."
Ouch.

After dropping out, Gabriela found a $7-an-hour job at a Subway sandwich shop in Encino. She needed little math because the cash register calculated change.
Mustard, no mayo. Everything but no pickles. Some jalapenos, please.

"We have a problem with a high dropout rate. You don't address it by making it easier to get through and have the meaning of the diploma diluted," said state Sen. Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno),

Word. Let's hear your plan for smaller class sizes and better trained math teachers.

who wrote the algebra graduation law
WTF? How is that going to help? You are going to address the problem of a high dropout rate by making it harder to get through? Doing the opposite of something stupid is not the same as doing something smart.

The Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning in Santa Cruz found that more than 40% of eighth-grade algebra teachers in California lack a math credential or are teaching outside their field of expertise; more than 20% of high school math teachers are similarly unprepared.
Fuck! And, of course, the unprepared teachers are not teaching calculus...

Recruitment programs and summer math institutes for teachers have been scaled back or eliminated because of budget cuts.
If you think education is expensive... try ignorance.

At Cal State Northridge, the largest supplier of new teachers to Los Angeles Unified, 35% of future elementary school instructors earned Ds or Fs in their first college-level math class last year.
face-palm

Ganz, who wants to teach third grade, thinks the required math courses are overkill. "I guarantee I won't need to know all this," she said
Stupid bitch.

High school math instructors, meanwhile, face crowded classes of 40 or more students — some of whom do not know their multiplication tables or how to add fractions or convert percentages into decimals.
It's definitely time to focus on skills and rote memorization in the lower grades.

The new approach stresses conceptual lessons rather than rote memorization
Oh My Gödel! What are they thinking?

Searching for a solution in its secondary schools, L.A. Unified is investing millions of dollars in new computer programs that teach pre-algebra, algebra and other skills.
KHAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaan!

Cleveland High, four miles from Birmingham, places ninth- and 10th-graders who get a D or F in algebra into semester-long classes that focus on sixth- and seventh-grade material and pre-algebra. Students then return to standard algebra classes.
Yes. This program could serve as a model for other schools in the state. Sure it takes time, but it's better than throwing them into year after year of algebra that the kids aren't ready for.

But Cleveland's strategy comes with risk. The state can lower the academic rankings of schools that remove ninth graders from first-year algebra ... [inviting] district audits and penalties, including removal of teachers and administrators.

*looks for a baseball bat*
 
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From:bestepisodeever
Date:February 1st, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
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Wow that's sad. I was doing algebra in 7th grade.

There was this chick in one of my history classes who was in a class to get her teaching credentials for elementary school. The class focused on teaching mathmatics to lower grades... and she said that she was the only one who didn't cheat on all the assignments and tests.
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From:freudinshade
Date:February 1st, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)

It starts at the beginning

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One of my big realizations when I took the CBest (with which I did nothing) was that it doesn't really have a math section. Sure, they call it math and plenty of the people coming out of the test thought it was hard, but it was really Math Recognition: Is this an addition problem?

My instinct was that anyone who failed the math section should not only not be allowed to become teachers but should be sent to re-education camps themselves.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:February 1st, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)

Re: It starts at the beginning

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Yeah, the CBEST was very disappointing. You don't even get squat for doing well on the CBEST.
From:aaronjv
Date:February 2nd, 2006 11:24 am (UTC)
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Horror and depression struck me when I had to take the GRE (grad school SAT), and, for someone who took ZERO math classes in college, and nothing higher than trig in HS, I still managed to get up in the top 1/3 of COLLEGE GRADUATES attempting to get into grad school. *shudder*

Now I don't feel so bad the kids I tutor are getting about a C+/B- in pre-algebra.