Monday, June 09, 2008

Algebra I stumping high school freshmen

Class of 2011 confronts tougher state requirements

Thousands of high school freshmen across Michigan are failing Algebra I, the first of four math courses this class of students must take and pass to fulfill what are among the toughest graduation requirements in the nation.

The failure rate -- estimated at 20% to 30% of about 113,000 freshmen -- has some predicting a crisis by the time these students are juniors and must take Algebra II.

In Macomb County after the first semester of this school year, the failure rate was around 28%.

"We have enough data to think this is going to continue to be a problem," said Gayle Green, assistant superintendent with the Macomb Intermediate School District. Failure rates for Oakland and Wayne counties haven't been compiled but officials there are concerned, too.

The alarms are ringing statewide. Lawmakers are searching for solutions that won't water down the tough mandates that sailed through the Legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2006. The requirements call for the Class of 2011 to take four years of math, including Algebra I, geometry and Algebra II.

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