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Students failing algebra rarely recover
San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.com ^ | Published 10:22 p.m., Friday, November 30, 2012 | Jill Tucker

Posted on 12/01/2012 2:31:36 PM PST by thecodont

California students who fail algebra and repeat the course are pretty much doomed to fail again, a vicious cycle that wastes limited resources and precious learning time, according to a report released Friday.

Just over a third of students in the 24 school districts studied had to repeat Algebra I either in ninth or 10th grade, yet even after a second year of study, relatively few were proficient in the subject.

Of those who took the class in eighth grade and repeated it as freshmen, just 1 in 5 scored at a proficient level on standardized tests. And of those who repeated as sophomores, 9 percent were proficient.

"These results provide powerful evidence that school systems are struggling to successfully teach, or reteach, mathematics to students who are not already performing well in math by the time they reach middle school," said Neal Finkelstein, the lead researcher on the study, which was commissioned by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd. ...

All told, half of all students in the study repeated algebra, geometry or Algebra II.

Yet many students retake the same course taught the same way, sometimes by the same teacher, according to the authors.

[...]

Researchers found that the majority of students who were proficient in Algebra I at the end of eighth grade followed an accelerated math track of geometry in ninth grade and Algebra II in 10th grade.

And those students made up the vast majority - 75 percent - of all those in their class who would ever become proficient in algebra by high school graduation.

Not a single student who earned below a grade of D in seventh-grade math went on to take calculus in high school, according to researchers.

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: algebra; education; math
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1 posted on 12/01/2012 2:31:44 PM PST by thecodont
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To: thecodont

Everyone learns math differently. If the method of teaching failed to teach, trying the same thing again is not really going to work if the student was motivated.


2 posted on 12/01/2012 2:34:54 PM PST by Raycpa
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To: thecodont
a vicious cycle that wastes limited resources and precious learning time, according to a report released Friday.

Now that is funny considering all the crappy stuff publik skoolz do and spend money on.

3 posted on 12/01/2012 2:37:00 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: thecodont
My daughter would never have passed algebra without her brother.

His first lesson was...."First.....forget everything your teacher said".

Let's take a look at the math teachers.

4 posted on 12/01/2012 2:37:13 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: thecodont

I was awful in algebra. I scored barely well enough to advance to geometry. One day in geometry I had a B.F. Skinner-type “white light” moment. From that moment on I was an A student in math and went on to major in Math at college.


5 posted on 12/01/2012 2:37:29 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: gorush

You have to share. I tried looking it up but no success.


6 posted on 12/01/2012 2:39:29 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church shows up at your funeral.)
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To: gorush
I was awful in algebra. I scored barely well enough to advance to geometry. One day in geometry I had a B.F. Skinner-type “white light” moment. From that moment on I was an A student in math and went on to major in Math at college.

Good for you! Most people never have such a moment. How did yours happen for you?

7 posted on 12/01/2012 2:40:24 PM PST by thecodont
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To: Raycpa
Everyone learns math differently. If the method of teaching failed to teach, trying the same thing again is not really going to work if the student was motivated.

True, so true.

1) Must want to learn it, or wasting time.

2)Instructor must be capable of explainng it in a way to enable understanding by the motivated student.

8 posted on 12/01/2012 2:40:34 PM PST by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: thecodont

The solution is to pour more and more money into schools!!!

Yeah, there’s a implied huge sarcasm tag hidden there.


9 posted on 12/01/2012 2:41:06 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: Sacajaweau
Most math teachers are incompetent. Those who actually get math, as a major or a minor in college, are a small minority but can work miracles.
10 posted on 12/01/2012 2:43:15 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: thecodont
This is nothing new. I should have failed Algebra in the Ninth grade (got a C) but didn't really understand it. Went onto Geometry in the Tenth Grade (got another C) but didn't really understand that either).

Finally wised-up and went across the street to City College where I took both courses on my own time and passed both with "A" grades because I understood both! The difference being learned instructors, not passive school teachers.


11 posted on 12/01/2012 2:43:21 PM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: gorush

I still remember my grades in 10th grade second year algebra, 3 D’s and C. Well in college I took college algebra and earned a B. Still later four quarters of calculs and differential equations-all A’s and
Bs. Linear algebra and matrix algebra-A’s. Part of it was me, part of it was probably the book and the teacher.
But mostly I got older, more mature, and my reading skills improved.


12 posted on 12/01/2012 2:45:11 PM PST by Maine Mariner
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To: SkyDancer

Skinner used to say that learning can and should continue throughout life and referred to the joy of intellectual illumination as concepts became clear. And sure enough, that moment where the previous years algebra and all subsequent math learning just made sense was, as I recall, almost orgasmic. I’ve yearned to repeat that sensation but have fallen short in the following half century.


13 posted on 12/01/2012 2:45:55 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: thecodont
Students failing algebra rarely recover

Let's tell the truth here: Teachers failing to teach algebra rarely recover.

Few public school teachers could pass second or third grade plusses, minuses, timeses, and gazintas; let alone teach eighth or ninth grade algebra or geometry.

14 posted on 12/01/2012 2:48:33 PM PST by meadsjn
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To: thecodont
"Good for you! Most people never have such a moment. How did yours happen for you?"

I can't say for sure. I suspect I just recognized patterns more effectively in geometry, which is more visual. It (algebra) all beclame clear in an instant. Sorry, that's the best way that I can describe it.

15 posted on 12/01/2012 2:50:45 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: meadsjn

Algebra is largely unimportant in most peoples lives. How to manage finances etc. should be the major emphasis of general higher mathematical education.


16 posted on 12/01/2012 2:52:07 PM PST by JmyBryan
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To: thecodont
The only trick needed with algebra II and calculus is not to fall behind.
Do the homework assignments or you're done for.
Any course that requires knowledge building from one day to the next in a foundation type of way, requires keeping up.
Guess now days video games interfere with that school silliness.
17 posted on 12/01/2012 2:52:58 PM PST by The Cajun (Sarah Palin, Mark Levin......Nuff said.)
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To: thecodont
I failed algebra in 9th grade and then failed it again in the 10th grade. I finished high school by completing some crapola called "high school math".

In college I survived college algebra, trig, analytic geometry and calculus.

My qualified opinion:

If things aren't right at home there ain't nothing gonna work - some kid's in trouble.

Get things straightened out at home and a talented person who GAF can make a world of difference for a young person.

I can recall a particular conversation I had with a gentleman who taught math at a certain university near my home that I credit with making the difference for me. It took him about 30 minutes to convince me that I could learn math.

I don't even recall the guy's name any more but he made a difference in my situation simply because he GAF.

18 posted on 12/01/2012 2:53:31 PM PST by OKSooner
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To: gorush

Sometimes called an Epiphany. I’ve had that feeling several time while in flight training. All of a sudden something made sense. I did finally find about it by searching just his name.


19 posted on 12/01/2012 2:57:31 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church shows up at your funeral.)
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To: thecodont

>> Just over a third of students in the 24 school districts studied had to repeat Algebra I either in ninth or 10th grade,

That’s pathetic. No doubt a consequence of the elementary curriculum.


20 posted on 12/01/2012 2:59:12 PM PST by Gene Eric (Demoralization is a weapon of the enemy. Don't get it, don't spread it!)
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To: thecodont

Maybe they reached the limit of their ability to handle the subject matter and should be tracked into practical application of basic math to prepare them for the future to the best of their ability?

Nah. That’s discriminatory. Got to clog up the college preparatory track with students who cannot grasp the subject matter, in the interest of “fairness.”


21 posted on 12/01/2012 2:59:56 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: thecodont

bookmark


22 posted on 12/01/2012 3:00:37 PM PST by DFG ("Dumb, Dependent, and Democrat is no way to go through life" - Louie Gohmert (R-TX))
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To: gorush
I was terrible at math until I got involved with a motorcycle race team that was made up of mostly automotive engineers. We would be discussing some mechanical function and suddenly I would realize how the math I had previously not understood applied to that function. Learning it out of a book didn't work for me.
23 posted on 12/01/2012 3:01:44 PM PST by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: GeronL

Seriously ?

Here is the deal with this. If these kids actually did their homework they would pass it just fine. Now by homework I don’t mean just the assigned problems at the end of the chapter. You do ALL OF THEM.

Most math textbooks have the answers in the back to either the odd or even problems. The instructor book has the answers to all the even numbered problems worked out. So when quiz/test time comes...where does the instructor go to get the problems for that exam? Could it be the instuctor’s book? The exam is the even problems or some set of problems similar?

This was my experience in every mathematics class I took in high school through partial differential equations and numerical analysis in college.

You don’t do the assigned....you do them all, and you will get an easy “A” because you have seen the problem before. Problem #7 on the exam was # 22 on page whatever from the relevant chapter.


24 posted on 12/01/2012 3:03:08 PM PST by Ouderkirk (Democrats...the party of Slavery, Segregation, Sodomy, and Sedition)
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To: thecodont

My cousin is a 9th grade math teacher...having been an engineer most of his life, he transitioned to being a public school teacher two years ago.

The stories he tells about the utter lack of mathematical ability on the part of at least 70% of his kids is just mind boggling. And through it all, the idea that any kid would have to damage him or herself so viciously by having to, say, memorize a multiplication table is just appalling. The assumption is made that a calculator will always be present, and they are supplied...but he has kids who cannot translate the symbols on paper into button pushes. He has kids who have no idea how to use a ruler to measure the width of a piece of paper. And give them a word problem and they are absolutely lost.

In my conversations with him he describes kids who have no inherent interest nor curiosity in being able to see if they can solve a problem. Their approach is simply to do the minimum work required to achieve a passing grade. But they have zero interest in doing any better than a “C”. It’s almost like his kids are in a union....where doing better is tacitly (but de facto) discouraged because it would make the others look bad. He has an emphasis on checking your work...not just to see if the process and answer are valid, but to see if the result is reasonable. IOW, if it takes 4 hours to drive from X to Y, the answer to a “mph” question ought not be 3,000 mph if the the two towns in the problem are nearby towns that everyone has heard of. And they never, ever check their work...they get an answer and that’s the end of it. They don’t really seem to care whether they are right or wrong. They don’t care whether or not they understood the question or were able to formulate the solution process.

I’d go stark raving mad under the conditions he describes.


25 posted on 12/01/2012 3:05:41 PM PST by Attention Surplus Disorder (This stuff we're going through now, this is nothing compared to the middle ages.)
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To: Raycpa
Everyone learns math differently. If the method of teaching failed to teach, trying the same thing again is not really going to work if the student was motivated.

If the student was motivated.

That's the key. I'm not here to defend the public schools, but, once upon a time, it was the responsibility of the child to get an education.

Algebra is challenging -- but not that tough if the prerequisites have been learned. A majority of the students in this school system probably passed Algebra. I don't lose sleep and I hate to lose more tax dollars fretting over the others.

Our entire country, including the education system, is being geared toward the failures. I mean, just look at the last election results.

26 posted on 12/01/2012 3:06:00 PM PST by BfloGuy (Workers and consumers are, of course, identical.)
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To: Raycpa

At least 3/4 of the failures occur because for one reason or another, the student does not try and does not care.

The reasons for that are many and varied. But it’s not that hard to learn if you want to learn it.

Since you asked, IMO it’s a lethal combination causing such self destructive behavior; 1) lack of parenting and 2) culture of shunning responsibility.

Kids do not think there is any consequence for failing to give effort.


27 posted on 12/01/2012 3:08:54 PM PST by Principled
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To: thecodont

as a homwschooler, i made the decision that my son should repeat Algebra 1 (so he covered it in 8th and 9th grade)... he didn’t fail it the first year, but he didn’t ace it either... i know that math is “developmental...” he understood it at a greater level the second time... i was much more comfortable moving him on after his second time completing it... now he actually has been able to tutor college students in Algebra...


28 posted on 12/01/2012 3:13:51 PM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: thecodont
Oh, wow dude, math is like, HARD, man!

Let's go check out Facefarque instead..........maybe have a couple joints while we are at it.

29 posted on 12/01/2012 3:13:55 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: thecodont

I took the required Algebra courses in high school and made As. In college I took the course on sets and math theory that was referred to as “Math for Poets.”

After 50 successful years in business and education I can truthfully say I was never once confronted with a problem that needed algebra.

We don’t require folks who are interested in physics, math or engineering to learn how to do legal briefs. I’ve never understood why requiring algebra is somehow a ‘given’ in the education system.


30 posted on 12/01/2012 3:16:37 PM PST by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk oMnly to me.Reid)
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To: thecodont
With free resources like this, it's simply a choice, by either the parents or the kids themselves, to fail.

Kahn Academy Algebra

31 posted on 12/01/2012 3:18:56 PM PST by TruthBeforeAll (Liberals love to do what is "best" for you, even if it kills you.)
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To: OKSooner
I can recall a particular conversation I had with a gentleman who taught math at a certain university near my home that I credit with making the difference for me. It took him about 30 minutes to convince me that I could learn math.

I don't even recall the guy's name any more but he made a difference in my situation simply because he GAF.

God bless this man.

32 posted on 12/01/2012 3:20:19 PM PST by thecodont
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To: thecodont
Students failing algebra rarely recover

But fools multiply rapidly.

33 posted on 12/01/2012 3:20:25 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: thecodont

It is unrealistic to expect all students to take and pass advanced math. That’s life and we spend a lot of time and money in a failed effort to prove the lie.

It’s also a lie that all teachers are able and prepared to teach advanced acadmeic level courses. A lot of teachers are unable to accomplish the advanced math understanding and knowledge they are expected to teach. It’s over their heads.


34 posted on 12/01/2012 3:20:28 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: thecodont

Algebra is racist (and islamist to boot!).


35 posted on 12/01/2012 3:24:05 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

I thought Algebra was invented by the Egyptians before they became Islamic.


36 posted on 12/01/2012 3:25:26 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: wildbill
Argumentation can be modeled in math. Laws can be modeled to see if they are logically consistent.

Boolean Logic seems fairly Algebraic to me.

37 posted on 12/01/2012 3:27:25 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: SaraJohnson

One thing I think should be taught, as early as grade school, is what taxes are and what they’re used for.

A child should know her local sales tax rate and know how to calculate it and apply it to a purchase. She should also know about local postal rates and how much it costs to send a package somewhere.

A parent could set up a child with a simple savings account and teach them about interest rates and how they cause savings to grow (yeah, I know interest rates on savings are almost nonexistent these days, far behind the rate of inflation).

While we’re at it: teach them about inflation, and the present value of money.

I think these things would be a good start.

Or: building a playhouse. Even if the kids are using scrap cardboard, take a ruler or tape measure and help them figure out dimensions and square footage.


38 posted on 12/01/2012 3:27:42 PM PST by thecodont
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To: thecodont

If you don’t work the problems and don’t go to class chances are you will fail. If you didn’t learn your arithmetic tables in the first and second grade it is GUARANTEED you will fail. This is not a new story. we have dumbed down arithmetic and math courses over the years. It is a disgusting and pointless exercise at this point


39 posted on 12/01/2012 3:28:03 PM PST by Nifster
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To: dfwgator

It makes a good NASA outreach story. The name is Arabic.


40 posted on 12/01/2012 3:28:53 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: SaraJohnson

I failed Algebra in 1964 and I’m still not over it.

Note, it was a class taught by the second string
foot ball coach, they used us as an experiment.


41 posted on 12/01/2012 3:29:06 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: wildbill

The best indicator I’ve found between an employment applicant capable of learning high-level skills while on the job is a simple test equivalent to those given years ago to pass 8th grade math.

Math requires a combination of natural aptitude and sufficient self-discipline to complete exercises commonly assigned as homework. This doesn’t attract those who prefer spending their middle school years developing their personalities through non-academic pursuits, like cliquish behavior, gossip and scheming.

I recommend math tests given upfront as a screening device.

If a candidate hasn’t focused themselves enough to take on the challenge of mastering an individual practice which gives little gratification (like math) at a young age, then it’s a good bet that even on the job they will become the equivalent of a “taker” (by attempting to manipulate other employees into doing their work and playing office politics, for example).


42 posted on 12/01/2012 3:30:07 PM PST by research99
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To: Raycpa

Not even close. The California class rooms use so damned many different techniques it is more astonishing that everyone doesn’t get it. The children failing algebra 1 in California tend to not go to class, not do the home work, and have NO ability to do simple arithmetic (you remember those tables you learned in first and second grade). Nice try though


43 posted on 12/01/2012 3:30:28 PM PST by Nifster
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To: thecodont
"A child should know her local sales tax rate..."

I used to "tax" my kids Halloween hauls. It made them realize that it's basically theft.

44 posted on 12/01/2012 3:31:01 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Raycpa

Algebra is actually very simple...and it is usually terribly taught. I hated it until I took a college class for teaching math in the primary grades from a woman who was herself a truly gifted teacher. She showed us that algebra (and geometry) were just more ways of saying and doing the same basic mathematical operations and simply expanded on them or adapted them to different situations - 3 dimensional space, for example, or even logic operations. And we did this using the Montessori bean sticks...(plus she really loved her subject, which most math teachers do not).

So there are some subjects in which the fault really may lie not so much with the student or the individual teacher as with the method of teaching the subject.


45 posted on 12/01/2012 3:32:12 PM PST by livius
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To: Paladin2
I used to "tax" my kids Halloween hauls. It made them realize that it's basically theft.

That'll learn 'em!

46 posted on 12/01/2012 3:32:48 PM PST by thecodont
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To: thecodont

Maybe algebra should be outlawed by executive order? It is so clearly divisive. Or perhaps, in the interest of the prevailing idea of fairness in America, the grades of those people who are unfairly learning it and scoring higher should be taxed of points to use in bringing up the grades of those most in need?


47 posted on 12/01/2012 3:35:47 PM PST by OldNewYork
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To: meadsjn
"gazintas"

LOL. That word is also one of the basic constructs of Electrical Engineering, along with gozoutas.

48 posted on 12/01/2012 3:38:27 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: gorush
I have always struggled with Algebra. No teacher can decipher why. They've tried many approaches with me over the years but for some reason I cannot "see it" in my head. However Geometry is as easy as writing my name. I literally can see the answers and the requisite geometric shapes with perfect clarity. Figuring angles and areas and such just seems natural.

Same for maps or navigating in cities and such. I can see the map overlay of the area as I travel down streets in my head even if I've never looked at an actual physical map of the area.

But algebra is still a mystery to me and I've tried several times over the years with computer programs and tutors. Apparently its just not something I am going to get.

49 posted on 12/01/2012 3:38:50 PM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: SaraJohnson

Algebra is not “advanced math.”


50 posted on 12/01/2012 3:40:05 PM PST by NVDave
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