California Gives Up On Math State will no longer require...

California Gives Up On Math State will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra



By Robby Soave

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.

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.

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

Back in ‘97 when the state went to a standard that expected students to take Algebra 1 in the eighth grade, that was really about looking forward to college competitiveness and preparing our public school students to be ready to compete to access college systems after high school,” she said. “The reality is what we’re now doing is lowering the standards.”

Instead, Rapp proposed that California schools improve the mathematics curriculum for students in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades, so that they are better prepared for Algebra I in eighth grade.

The Council of Chief State School Officers, which set the Common Core standards, did not respond to a request for comment.



  1. I took the "No child left Behind Test" to bypass the education. I was milling about in the hallway with the students (you have to be 18 to take the test) before the test and found that some of them were retaking the math test for the second and third time. I had been out of school for over 40 years. When I came out from the test, I thought to myself, "this is 7th and 8th grade Algebra and Geometry". I knew our kids were in BIG trouble. The questions are all multiple choice. What a disgrace.

  2. They mean to tell us that minorities instinctively knew algebra so well, that it is beneath them to have to sit through that class? California logic.

  3. Why do we continue to lower the academic standards in this country? God forbid we should hold all students to a higher standard, and when some of them struggle, get them help immediately, or determine that they need to move in another direction such as vocational training. We continue to throw money at our public schools, and the students continue to decline academically. Perhaps the answer is not more money, but some serious changes in our public school system…….

  4. Just a further case of dumbing down America and diluting our intelligence pool by a group of village idiots that believe because of some quota that we should allow more "intellectually challenged" sub standard students to pass through the education system. In this way they can sit back and say that their job is done, while the truth is that they have failed as educators and can pass the problem off to someone else. Meanwhile, the limited space at universities is taken up by more and more bright minds from other countries because they got a good head start. It is of little wonder why the US ranks so low globally in the basic sciences.

  5. In the end, this ultimately puts the responsibility of education and progress of our children back into the hands of their parents, does it not?

    • Would you rather they live in Kansas where algebra is witchcraft and the Pythagorean Theorem is heresy?

    • Sorry for the delay. I ate dinner. I was just having fun with my last post, and my first one, for that matter. Facebook is brain candy for me and not a forum for my personal philosophy, but I asked for it in this case… This article clearly does not provide unbiased reporting but instead a savory headline and some spin. My point was really that many are quick to blame schools or policy makers for their child(ren)'s academic performance without ever taking responsibility themselves. They start to sound like helpless victims, which is boring. Pollyanna-me actually believes that nobody working on educational policy sets out with the objective of making American students less prepared for the future. Of course, I know budgets, politics, unions, etc are all part of the game, but in the end I have to believe their is good reason for choosing to eliminate standards as described here. Viel spass.

  6. Great idea, California. Why stop with Algebra? How about giving up on reading, writing, history, and science, too. That should allow you to focus on indoctrinating the kids full-time.


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