Are disparities creating an educational caste system?

downeyart (Medium)One of the key predictors of college success is whether a student takes algebra II in high school. Yet, a new survey by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that 3,000 high schools serving nearly 500,000 students don’t even offer algebra II.

“Without algebra II, you probably don’t go to college,” said Patte Barth, director of the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education, in a conference call last week.

“If you do go, you are probably going to end up in remediation. Without algebra II, you don’t become an auto mechanic. Without it, you don’t get into one of the growing service jobs in growing fields like communications,” she said.

The new U.S. DOE report, based on the Civil Rights Data Collection 2009-10 sample from more than 72,000 schools that encompass about 85 percent of the nation’s students, paints an unsettling picture of an education system in which poor and minority students are often on the losing end of discipline, achievement and resources.

“Instead of creating equal opportunities for all of our students to thrive, too many schools are still stuck in an educational caste system,” said Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Among the findings of the federal study garnering the most attention:

•Only 29 percent of high-minority high schools offered calculus, compared to 55 percent of schools with the lowest African-American and Hispanic enrollment.

•Black students, particularly males, are more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. African-American students make up 18 percent of the students in the survey sample, but 35 percent of the students suspended and 39 percent of the students expelled.

•Although blacks and Hispanics constitute 44 percent of the students in the survey, they make up only 26 percent of students in gifted-and-talented programs.

•More than half of all fourth-graders held back in 2010 were African-American. Overall, black students were nearly three times as likely as white students to be retained, while Hispanic students were twice as likely.

•Teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in other schools.

•Fifteen percent of teachers in schools with the highest black and Hispanic enrollment had taught two years or fewer, compared with 8 percent of teachers in schools with the lowest minority enrollments.

“This report speaks urgently of the need to address the chronic suspension of minorities, the growing resource gap between wealthy and poor school districts, the failed policy of closing public schools and destabilizing neighborhoods, the use of law enforcement as an extension of school discipline, and the inexcusable fact that children of color are routinely shut out of opportunities for gifted-and-talented and college-readiness programs,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Those opportunities must begin with ensuring that all students have access to the courses necessary for the higher wage jobs. Students can’t learn if they lack the opportunity to do so.

Nationwide, a third of first-year college students require remediation, typically in math. And remediation maps directly to the intensity of the courses that students took in high school, or, as Barth of the National School Boards Association noted, “More significantly, it maps to the courses they did not take.”

In some schools, students can’t take the courses because they aren’t offered. For example, a third of high schools in the United States don’t offer advanced placement courses. And while 77 percent of white students attend high schools that offer trigonometry, only 67 percent of black students and 60 percent of Hispanic students do.

“The simple fact of taking a math class beyond algebra II [such as trig or precalculus] doubles the chances of getting a B.A. The simple fact of taking an AP class doubles a student’s chances of graduating from college,” said Barth, whose group just released its own new study, “Is High School Tough Enough?”

The argument that tougher high school courses should be limited to the college-prep track ignores the fact that even blue-collar jobs now demand higher-order reading and math skills.

It’s long been realized that U.S. schools suffer an achievement gap, but the federal data now help us understand there’s also an opportunity gap in some schools.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

105 comments Add your comment

rural juror

March 11th, 2012
4:14 pm

We don’t have Algebra II in Georgia high schools. Most schools have Math I through Math IV, Stat, and Calc


March 11th, 2012
4:29 pm

I am not disputing or questioning any claim made here, just would like to know: Is Algebra II actually required to train to be a mechanic?

Andy Wilburn

March 11th, 2012
4:32 pm

The Problem is we dump all thus money into the inter-city school systems where the money is wasted. We need to spend that money preparing college students for college. Education is the the only system where people seem to think its a good idea to invest the most money where the return on investment is the lowest.


March 11th, 2012
4:49 pm

So, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights comes up with a survey to justify their existence. Nothing unusual there. According to a survey by Pink, 80% of people are bored with surveys.

Ron F.

March 11th, 2012
4:58 pm

Andy: the truth is that a lot of the money that is supposed to be going to these needier schools doesn’t make it to the school level, and definitely not to the classroom level where it should. There’s a lot that needs to be done with that money and it’s often wasted. Even though inner-city schools often receive more money on paper, it’s wasted at the district level or on boxed, scripted curricula that never work.

One key factor here is the experience level of teachers. Teachers in the neediest schools don’t have the tools or experience to stay long in the schools that need them the most. The best teachers don’t want the challenge of dealing with these kids. Troubled kids need good teachers who are willing to stay in these schools, but how do we get them to when they can move on and often make more money in less challenging environments? When turnover rate is that high, you can’t follow through on any successful program if you’re always having to hire new teachers.

johnny too good

March 11th, 2012
5:09 pm

Truthfully, minority schools cannot offer some courses simply because they are not needed, remedial math and reading courses are offered as electives
I’m sure all kids in GA get alegbra 2, the math courses are now known as math 1 – 4, starting in the 9th grade
Dislaimer: I’m not sayin blacks and latinos cant read or count, that just happens to be whats actually goin on at the schools


March 11th, 2012
5:32 pm

Honestly Maureen!

“Only 29 percent of high-minority high schools offered calculus, compared to 55 percent of schools with the lowest African-American and Hispanic enrollment. More than half of all fourth-graders held back in 2010 were African-American.”

Put those two together and what do you get? Enough with your pie-in-the-sky liberalism where government action is supposed to make everything better. I ATTENDED one of those majority-minority high schools. My wife TAUGHT in one (and quickly left the profession for another). What is the point of having those advanced math, science, etc. classes in these schools WHEN NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE THEM? The real problem isn’t lack of rigorous courses so inner city kids can compete with Biff and Buffy in Gwinnett and Forsyth. The problem is the lack of kids in these inner city schools able to read and compute at grade level. And the reason for this isn’t low teacher pay or qualifications. It is because the best teachers are going to avoid situations where they get blamed for – and their careers get harmed by – the poor discipline and study habits of the students.

At the high school that my wife attempted to become a mathematics instructor in, having a calculus class would have been a waste of time for kids who could not even do long division without a calculator! (Here’s looking at you, social promotion!) You can’t do calculus without trigonometry, you can’t do trigonometry without geometry, and you can’t do geometry without being able to do fractions, WHICH VIRTUALLY NONE OF THESE HIGH SCHOOL KIDS COULD DO!

It reminds me of “Crazy Joe Clark” from “Lean On Me.” He ran off the woman teaching classical music because he needed all hands on deck towards getting those kids to read and write! So go ahead, pass some state law requiring these advanced courses in all high schools. Pat yourself on the back, and put another “liberal achievement” trophy in your case, but it would be TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to the actual LIVES of the kids in these schools.

Now my heart does go out to the high-achieving students in these bad schools. They’re the real victims. I wish there was a way to reach and deliver a quality education to those kids individually, but I don’t think that there is, not even with online instruction. And I don’t claim that charter schools (or vouchers which I oppose adamantly) are the solution for every child or even most of them. But it is high time to stop claiming that the problem is the refusal of the government to provide opportunity, when the real issue is the unwillingness of people to take advantage of the opportunity that exists.

There would be more calculus classes in these schools if there were more kids willing to do what was necessary to take them. Period. As a matter of fact, you’d have Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney etc. throwing those high schools money and bragging over which one of them sent the most low income/minority kids to college, just like George W. Bush got elected president based largely on his bragging about (minor) improvements in low income/minority
educational achievement while he was governor of Texas.

It is a lot easier to blame the state than it is to talk about the real problem: socio-cultural issues among the underclass. The latter is very hard to fix, and can’t even be addressed without violating more than a few core positions of social liberalism. But it is the truth. Put it this way: YOU go try to teach calculus in some of those high schools and tell us how it goes. Good luck …

Atlanta mom

March 11th, 2012
5:33 pm

I don’t think an auto mechanic would use Algebra II per se. What one learns in Algebra II is to attack a problem logically. That’s why it’s so important for both auto mechanics and college applicants. The ability to think logically, to solve a problem one step at a time.


March 11th, 2012
5:33 pm

Algebra II requires more higher level thinking. Do the math.


March 11th, 2012
5:35 pm

Institute merit pay across the country, and you’ll see high-need schools have even less experienced teachers. They’re not going to stay at a high need school if their pay is tied to test scores. But then, the “reformers” will have even more reason to complain that public education is failing and needs to be dismantled. It’s actually a brilliant strategy.

Education Degree Graduates can't do math

March 11th, 2012
5:36 pm

I spoke to someone who graduated from college with an education degree. He was looking for work as an elementary school teacher. l told him there was an opening at a school for a middle school math teacher and he said he wasn’t interested because he was “bad” at math.
Now, this is MIDDLE SCHOOL math. HOW does a college graduate with ANY degree not feel confident enough in their mastery of middle school math? How does anyone graduate from HIGH SCHOOL without feeling absolutely confident in their mastery of middle school math? Well, apparently, education majors don’t.
Middle school math is fractions and decimals, multiplication and division, addition and substraction — math “we” use everyday (or at least I do).
I mean, does anyone walk into Target, look at sign that says 40% off and think “Gee, I wonder how much the cost would be after 40% off? Does anyone actually have to whip out their cell phone calculator to determine the price? WHY does anyone need a tip calculator? 15% and 20% tips anyone can do in their head or — they should not have ever graduated high school.
Good Mother

A Teacher, 2

March 11th, 2012
5:37 pm

Most of the old Algebra 2 is covered in Math 2. Some of the old content is also in Math 1 and Math 3. The content of Algebra 2 would be accessible to most students who will actually work and try to learn it.

To irish eyes @merit pay

March 11th, 2012
5:41 pm

I advocate merit pay for going into a “high need” school. It’s more difficult to teach in those schools so we should offer a bonus to go into that school — but only for those with proven track records.
By a proven track record I mean, someone who can manage the children in the classroom. They are more difficult to manage.
As long as there is discrimination against women in the US, there will always be plenty of teachers. When women earn as much as a man for doing the same work and when men do the equivalent of the “family-work” (raising children, managing the home), then there will always be enough teachers for America’s children.
When women and men are truly equal in this country, women will no longer need to be teachers. There will be a shortage of teachers, then the pay will rise significantly — and more men will be teaching — just as what happened to the nursing industry.
Good Mother

Atlanta Mom Gets It

March 11th, 2012
5:44 pm

Thank you, Atlanta mom. You “get it.” You said “What one learns in Algebra II is to attack a problem logically. That’s why it’s so important for both auto mechanics and college applicants. The ability to think logically, to solve a problem one step at a time.”

In other words, “word” problems. Those “word” problems are scenarios where the student has to determine the equation to solve and then solve it — using logic and math.

Very well said.
Good Mother


March 11th, 2012
6:04 pm

To irish eyes @merit pay:

“As long as there is discrimination against women in the US, there will always be plenty of teachers.”

No discrimination against women in the U.S. That “women earn 70% as much as men” statistic was long ago debunked. When you compare women to men in the same field with the same education and experience level, women earn as much as men, and in some cases – i.e. in some metro areas as a recent and rather poorly publicized study revealed – actually earn more. The people who make this bogus claim know this, and are merely trying to inflate the salaries of certain female-dominated professions (especially childcare/daycare workers) to being the equivalent of electricians, carpenters and mechanics.

“and more men will be teaching — just as what happened to the nursing industry”

What are you talking about? The nursing industry is just as dominated by females as it has always been. I repeat: the nursing profession has ALWAYS been highly paid, and it has ALWAYS been dominated by women. That is why the term “male nurse” is analogous to a joke, especially in Hollywood (remember the movie “Meet The Parents”?).

By contrast, when the education profession was dominated by males, THE SALARIES WERE MUCH LOWER. Education salaries increased – and dramatically so – after it became female dominated. Now the reason wasn’t because of the women entering the profession, but rather because of the shift towards treating public education as a social welfare/social engineering instrument caused gigantic increases in public education spending in general, which in turn caused huge increases in teacher salaries. But the fact remains that the female-dominated modern profession is much better compensated than it was when it was male-dominated. And the idea that teachers are underpaid comes from folks who want teachers to be paid as much as CPAs, pharmacists, engineers etc. It totally ignores that A) public sector employees get paid less than private sector ones in general (you make a lot less being an engineer for the city or feds than you do for AT&T … as a matter of fact government engineers, accountants etc. make about the same as teachers do) and B) trying to overcome market forces – supply and demand – with regulation (the same as advocating that daycare workers be paid as much as electricians).

The truth is that we are graduating more female doctors, lawyers, MBAs etc. than males and have been for years. There are more women in graduate school than men, and FAR more women at the undergraduate level (60% to 40%, almost 2-1). The times have changed, and it is time for the political arguments to reflect it.


March 11th, 2012
6:04 pm

Every time I give a data presentation to the district brass I tell them the same thing: “the data shows that the smart kids are still smarter than the dumb kids”.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

March 11th, 2012
6:09 pm


“I spoke to someone who graduated from college with an education degree…. Well, apparently, education majors don’t.”

So this one guy you spoke to suddenly represents ALL educations majors. Nice.

Oh, and as a woman, I did not NEED to be a teacher – I CHOSE to be a teacher. Although I do agree that our profession would likely be better paid and receive more respect if it were not female dominated. That is the sad reality.

Tired of the excuses

March 11th, 2012
6:15 pm

With all the money they ‘dump’ into the education system if da child don’t wanna learn, they ‘aint’ gonna.

Goes back to LBJ and the welfare system.

When will you people admit that it’s not the education system which stood us in good stead for years, it the dumb students from unwed mammas that have no interest in learning.

Tired of the Excuses.

Raquel Morris

March 11th, 2012
6:32 pm

It’s too bad the inept Atlanta Board of Education allowed Beverly Hall to dismantle our once strong HS magnet programs. When l was at Douglass, I took AP Calculus, English, Physics and American History, achieving college credit for each. Beverly Hall succeeded in ruining magnet programs that drew high quality students from across the city in place of a small schools model that works for no one. Shame on her and them.


March 11th, 2012
7:00 pm

Middle school math is much more than “everyday” math. Here’s what I was helping my student with on Friday.

A student counted his money which consisted of quarters and dimes. He had 16 coins in all and a total of $2.35. How many dimes did he have and how many quarters?

The solution set is d + q = 16 and .1d + .25q = $2.35. You solve for one variable first: d = 16 – q and then substitute the solution into the other equation: .1(16-q) + .25q = 2.35. You now have enough information to solve for q. 1.6 – .1q + .25q = 2.35; 1.6 + .15q = 2.35; .15q = .75; q = 5.

While I believe many could solve the problem, I’m not sure your average citizen could solve it using algebraic expressions. This is one of the easier word problems that my student was able to master pretty quickly. Middle school math consists of ratios, proportions, relations, linear functions, slope intercept form, finding area and volume of irregular shapes, etc. It’s actually much more challenging than it was when I was in junior high.


March 11th, 2012
7:09 pm

Children are products of their environment, with some natural ability. If the parent instills the importance of academic success, many students will do better. Teachers cannot educate a child alone. When kids go home, THEY HAVE TO DO THEIR WORK. When we call, we need the parent to say “No phone, no TV, no games till your work is done.” Also, if the child doesn’t understand one lesson, WE CAN’T KEEP GOING ON. Also, unfortunately, the summer break is too long. Children need to go to school year round, with a couple of weeks off in between.

Welcome to private school Good Mother

March 11th, 2012
7:25 pm

Teaching math is problematic. One of my child attends a top tier private school and has struggled in Algebra II this year. Part is her challenge and part is the teacher is only average.

We have hired a fabulous tutor. He tutors about 45 kids a week, 43 are from private schools. When we decided to hire a tutor, many we talked too were full. I have a good friend who tutors math in another part of the metro area, her students are 80 percent private school kids.

The challenging issue moving forward is finding qualified math teachers. Recent research shows that just being good at math doesn’t make someone a good math teacher. It is a problem.

Beverly Fraud

March 11th, 2012
7:28 pm

“This report speaks urgently of the need to address the chronic suspension of minorities…” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

No Randi, it speaks to the urgent need to get discipline UNDER CONTROL. Good God, this is a teacher “advocate”?


March 11th, 2012
7:50 pm

@GM, this may blow your narrow-minded stereotypes, but I graduated near the top of my high school class from a well-regarded school in a northern state (with AP credits in Calculus, English, Biology, and Chemistry). I chose to go into education because I love kids. I was actually planning to major in another field, but it wasn’t something I loved. After a stint teaching Sunday School at my church, I was hooked on teaching.

BTW, I don’t think I could ever teach Middle School. Not because I don’t think I could do it, but because it takes a special soul to lock themselves in a room with 30 or so hormone laden pre-adolescents. I get chills just thinking about it. Some have the gift and love for middle school kids, and some don’t.


March 11th, 2012
7:51 pm

I took Algebra II/Trig. in the 10th grade (1973-74), its hard to fathom that almost 40 years later Algebra II wouldn’t be the norm for all high-school students. Always thought the next generation was suppose to be smarter and better equip than we were in the 70’s, from some of these post I see that’s just not the case.

Andy Wilburn

March 11th, 2012
7:58 pm

Nothing is gonna change until we get a strong superintendent who demands teachers do their jobs and quits playing politics

Really amazed

March 11th, 2012
8:13 pm

I thought ALL GA high school students couldn’t graduate without, at least ALG 11???????


March 11th, 2012
8:17 pm

Where is the concern for our school children and future leaders? School administrators / teachers cheat on tests so the school will not fail on No Child left Behind. Teachers unions fight for Public Schools vs. private or charter schools – - – even vouchers so a child can go to a successful school.
Schools don’t even teach History adequately. Parents, teachers and our school boards and administrators are failing our children. All children want to be a celebrity that makes big bucks. No one these days wants to work hard at study and preparation for a good job. Where is our work ethic? More importantly Why are we not making people more accountable and responsible for the outcome of our children?

rural juror

March 11th, 2012
8:20 pm

Nothing is gonna change until we get a strong superintendent who demands teachers do their jobs and quits playing politics

There we go, it’s all on the teachers, isn’t it? I love having the opportunity to be a strong, positive male influence in the lives of my kids (I teach in a lower-income area where many students don’t live with or even know their dads), but a lot of the detriments to these kids learning is beyond my control. Some don’t care. Some don’t want to be there. Some come to school only to goof off and distract others. Some hate authority. Some can’t even add. I work my butt off to try to teach and motivate these kids to be successful, but there’s only so much I can do.

I’m not looking for a medal or anything, but it feels like I’m getting very little support from parents, the GaDOE, and the community. It’s frustrating. Student A fails his EOCT. He goofs off during class, doesn’t take notes, doesn’t do work, his mom doesn’t seem to care….but when poor test scores come in, nope…all the teacher’s fault.

rural juror

March 11th, 2012
8:21 pm

Really amazed – under the new integrated system (which is actually on its way out…), students have to pass Math I, Math II, and Math III, and also have one other math credit. Whether that’s Math IV, calc, stat, and I think they’re counting math support as a credit now too.

rural juror

March 11th, 2012
8:23 pm

Each of these integrated classes has a bit of everything in it. Geometry one unit, algebra the next, then statistics, etc…


March 11th, 2012
9:04 pm

seems to me that all of these studies and antecdotes are just a rouse so no one has to talk about the real problem which is inner city/high minority kids are products of their home envoirnment (or lack thereof) and no amount of money or blaming other people will fix that. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. How do we fix the family unit in minority neighborhoods, should be the real question. I beleive the rest of it will fall into place after that. Until then, we are kidding ourselves that all of these band aids are going to work.

Ron F.

March 11th, 2012
9:10 pm

Andy: every super I’ve had, even the inept ones, demanded that we do our jobs. I worked under a string of them in Clayton county who ended up being fired and their multi-million dollar contracts had to paid off to get them out. I’m so very blessed now to be in a smaller, rural system with a super who supports us, talks to us, actually lets us e-mail him or call or stop by his office whenever we feel like it. He doesn’t have to demand that we do our jobs because his support and encouragement makes us want to do our jobs and do them well. I never knew how important that support was until I actually had it. Too many supers in the metro area are like corporate CEOs with too much to do to worry with the commoners in the classroom.

A Teacher, 2

March 11th, 2012
9:29 pm

@Rural Juror—The Integrated Curriculum is NOT on the way out. Read what is IN the Curriculum of the CCGPS, not just the titles of the classes. You will find that the CCGPS is just as integrated as the current Math 1, Math 2, Math 3, Math 4.


March 11th, 2012
9:30 pm

Eric Holder suggested that our country was afraid to have a real dialog about race. Once Obama was elected it seems that Holder is the one who would rather not have the discussion.

The failure of our inner city schools is a big deal. Failure in school condemns the students to compete with low wage workers all over the world, workers with a lower expectations and higher work ethics. In a practical sense it means a life of unemployment and marginal economic security.

Until it’s safe to address the factors that cause school failure we will continue to experience an underclass of academic and ultimately economic failures. The sad thing is that these failures are voluntarily inflicted. This is not a problem of genetics but of family, community,morality and economics. Change is needed but honesty will have to come first.

Ron F.

March 11th, 2012
9:41 pm

Jayne: part of the problem is we’re talking about these people and not talking to them. A lot of the behaviors and attitudes that need to change won’t change until we engage these folks and that’s hard to do. Folks in generational poverty tend to look on ‘the system’ with distrust. That’s understandable when they find nothing but frustration and the inability to make ends meet. Then there’s the lack of motivation and marginalization that assistance programs can cause. Money isn’t the answer, obviously. You can take a person out of poverty and give them all the money they could want and you won’t change the behaviors and attitudes. That’s why assistance programs have failed to bring people up out of poverty. Changing the attitudes is hard, but perhaps if we were willing to engage our poor in discussions, without judgment or blame, we could begin to understand their needs and help them change the way they think. Honesty like that isn’t going to happen as long as we continue to complain about them without listening and talking to them.

Just Sayin'

March 11th, 2012
9:43 pm

For students entering 9th grade in 2013-2014 we are going back to Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trig, and Calc plus several other higher level math electives. After the Math I – IV concept didn’t prove to be a magic bullet for NCLB requirements GADOE decided to go back to the previous model that didn’t work either. The more things change etc, etc. Georgia currently requires 4 units of Math in order to meet HS graduation requirements. According to the recently released list of state funded 9-12 courses for next year Algrebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II are required of all students with the remaining unit coming from a list of either higher level math offerings or a variety of math related career pathway courses.

Ed Johnson

March 11th, 2012
9:45 pm

“The sad thing is that these failures are voluntarily inflicted. This is not a problem of genetics but of family, community, morality and economics.”

Or, might it be a problem of marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religiosity? Charles Murray suggests as much in his recent book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.”


March 11th, 2012
9:53 pm

Just as in the middle east, you can only lead, mediate, and negotiate for compromise for so long. Eventually it’s time for the owners of the issue to take care of their own problems. That time is now.

Until I see an equal effort in these communities, I’m washing my hands of the issue.

A Teacher, 2

March 11th, 2012
10:22 pm

@Just Sayin’—–That is not correct. The courses are Coordinate Algebra, Analytic Geometry, and Advanced Algebra. If you read the content, you will find that the courses are DEFINITELY not Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. For example, Analytic Geometry includes most of the proof-based Geometry, plus everything about Quadratic Equations. All three classes have statistics integrated in them. People can still think we are “going back” all they want, but all three classes still have algebra, Geometry, and statistics integrated in them.

How do I know this??? I was on the writing team for GADOE. I wrote one of the course guides. I have seen and thoroughly studies the new CCGPS courses to be rolled out beginning with the 9th grade class, Coordinate Algebra, next fall.

Atlanta mom

March 11th, 2012
10:28 pm

Education Degree Graduates can’t do math
“Middle school math is fractions and decimals, multiplication and division, addition and substraction — math “we” use everyday (or at least I do).”
Actually, that’s fifth grade math.
And you’d be surprised at HS math these days. I have a degree in mathematics. And yes, I can do HS math. But it is very much different than the math we learned. Very much. I’m not saying it’s better. But it is different.

Hillbilly D

March 11th, 2012
11:00 pm

Having spent many years in the car business, I know that it isn’t necessary to have Algebra II to be a mechanic. Taking it wouldn’t really help you and not taking it wouldn’t really hurt you. What today’s mechanics really need is a very strong background in electronics. The advances in the electronics of cars in the last 30 years or so is mind boggling.

That being said, I think Algebra II should at least be offered in high schools (even if under another name), whether everybody takes it or not.

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

March 12th, 2012
12:44 am

How many minority and poor kids are being denied first-rate educational opportunities because of the disrespect and disorder which characterize many of the classrooms in which they study and many of the schools whose halls they walk? Plenty. The number is a damn-sight more than the number of minority kids who are expelled and suspended without good cause.

When will the USDOE address the corrosive class/school climate issue? On the twelfth of Never?

“We can’t have good learning conditions without good teaching conditions.” Sound familiar?

Andy Wilburn

March 12th, 2012
3:12 am

I am glad everyone on here is a teacher or works in the school system. I manage several subways, if each one of you could see the kind of employees YOU are turning out…..No manners, Not Punctual, No basic math skills, and very UN attentive. Part of the problem is society but most of is the schools


March 12th, 2012
5:41 am

“One of the key predictors of college success is whether a student takes algebra II in high school.”

And why is that? A: It takes a certain level of ability to complete math at this level. Frankly put, a significant percentage of minority students simply do not possess the inherent intelligence to pass Alg II. As others have noted, a student is not going to attempt Alg II when they are performing at a grade school level in high school.

Sorta gives you a warm and fuzzy looking forward to 2042, when whites will officially become the new minority. The heat is slowly being turned up while America sits in the pot of water wondering when the next government bailout is coming.

“Yet, a new survey by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights….”

The DOE has an Office of Civil Rights??? Perfect example of how government agencies morph into areas which they have no business.

Proud Teacher

March 12th, 2012
5:49 am

Andy Wilburn, you are wrong. Teachers didn’t create this attitude. What you describe as a poor employee, I would describe as a poor student. I know exactly what you are talking about here, but they come to high school like this. Don’t blame the school for this, blame the individual (yes, I know there are many of them) who chooses not to be responsible. Fire the inept! Hire the eager! At least you don’t have an administration checking your records for pass/fail. You get to choose whom you employ.

To Atlanta Mom

March 12th, 2012
5:52 am

You write about middle school math “But it is very much different than the math we learned. Very much. I’m not saying it’s better. But it is different.”

If a COLLEGE GRADUATE with an EDUCATION DEGREE can’t do middle school math then that college graduate:
A. Doesn’t deserve their high school diploma
B. Doesn’t deserve a college degree.
C. Has no right to be a teacher.

Would you disagree with any of those statements?
Good Mother

To Rural Juror/Shopping at Target

March 12th, 2012
6:07 am

You write “Really amazed – under the new integrated system (which is actually on its way out…), students have to pass Math I, Math II, and Math III, and also have one other math credit. Whether that’s Math IV, calc, stat, and I think they’re counting math support as a credit now too.”

I understand those are the requirements on paper but what actually is learned is very different and I want to know how that could be.
Regularly I go shopping in the Edgewood shopping district at Target. I am frequently in line behind young people with this process:

They pull things out of the cart and the ignorant shopper says “Now how much is it?” The cashier tells the shopper the subtotal. Then the shopper pulls something else out of the cart and puts it on the converyor belt “Now how much is it?”
This process goes on and on until the shopper has reached hisher amount of money shehe has and then rest of the items in the court the shopper tells the cashier to put in the “go backs” pile.
What does this all mean? It means they can’t estimate and they cannot add. They also have no manners or they wouldn’t be holding up the line for the rest of us because they refuse to bring a calculator and make their decisions before getting into line.
Yes, they are all high school “graduates.” How do I know? I make some polite inquiry. “You look familiar. Are you in my son’s/daughter’s senior class at blank high school?.”
They reply with “Yes or I went to blank public school.”
It’s always some APS or Dekalb high school, never a private school and never a Decatur school.
So for all this talk about the rigors of math in Atlanta public high schools, it’s worthless because whatever is supposed to being taught, isn’t being taught. It isn’t being learned. We are turning out thousands of know-nothings into our society that feed on we tax-payer hosts.
Good Mother

To IrishEyes and Stereotypes

March 12th, 2012
6:18 am

You want to blow my mind because you are a teacher with a solid understanding of math?
They key words in your statement are “Northern state.”
You graduated from a “Northern state,” and I assume a Northern elementary, middle and high school.
That’s the key difference.
The state of Georgia is either 46th, 47th or 48th in the nation in k-12 school rankings. Bottom of the barrel.
Many of Georgia’s colleges are also bottom of the barrel. I frequently hire people with college degrees and many of them can’t get basic grammar.
One candidate with a Masters degree from a Georgia college wrote in hisher summary:
“I HAS experience doing X” and I “HAS experience doing Y”
has? It’s “I have….”
That’s very basic, standard English.
One’s resume should be perfect without any spelling or grammatical errors or typos. That’s common knowledge. This candidate with a Masters degree from a Georgia college did NOT get the job. Heshe did NOT get an interview.
I hired an Indian who was from India who wrote and spoke English much better than the born in the USA college graduate and it broke my heart.
Good Mother

To Hillbilly D

March 12th, 2012
6:24 am

Did you take algebra II in high school?
Please be honest.