Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer with lots of reader commentsWhat a concept. First, it's silly to assume that 100% of eighth graders are ready for anything, not to mention algebra. From the Newsweek article on Teach For America,
August 13, 2008
SACRAMENTO -- California's schools will need an additional $3.1 billion annually - $2,100 more for every middle school student - to implement the governor's new eighth-grade algebra testing requirement, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said Tuesday.
Locke High School in Watts. At Locke, a school hemmed in by competing gangs, 2 percent of ninth graders are proficient in algebra; 11 percent read at grade level. Too many can't read at all.so we're now going to accomplish state-wide algebra proficiency at the 8th grade level instead?
Second, spending that much only to realize that a large percentage of the students are not ready for algebra seems somewhat counter-productive.
Thirdly, that's a heck of a lot of money and I doubt that much of it is going to any teachers. I think it more likely that some testing company is scoring a big, fat juicy contract here (assuming the number isn't wildly inflated to score PR victory).
Most troublesome from my perspective, the unintended consequence will be that algebra 1 will have to be watered down to the level of the test that 90% of the kids COULD pass.
Of course, they could always set the passing score to 30 out of 90. That seems to be the way of the world these days.