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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Examiner Editorial - 'Permanent freshmen' won't disappear

(Posted 1 Feb 2006)
  • Examiner Editorial - 'Permanent freshmen' won't disappear.
    At least 2,500 ninth-graders in Prince George's County won't be taking a state algebra test this spring because they can't pass it. How can school officials predict that one-fifth of the Class of 2009 will fail a test they haven't even taken yet?

    Simple: They've never been taught algebra. These are the same students who were enrolled in the county's elementary schools between 1995 - when the state of Maryland approved a new dumbed-down curriculum - and 2003, when the federal No Child Left Behind law eliminated "social" promotions and required that every student be tested.

    That's still not happening. Thousands of "permanent freshmen" - some as old as 19 - show up at school every day, but are not advancing toward a high school diploma. Midyear, they're suddenly being shuffled off to a two-year "Algebraic Concepts" class where they'll supposedly learn how to figure out equations. But the real reason for the switch is to shield the school system from the consequences of not teaching them anything for eight years.
    [. . .]
    As Temple Hills education activist Zalee Harris, who has warned the county for years, told The Examiner: "They can't do one plus one, but they know how to take your car." . . .

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