California's mandatory eighth grade algebra nixed for now

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In August 2008 we reported in A Good Deed to Raise Academic Standards That Will Not Go Unpunished that the California State Board of Education had recently voted to require that all 8th grade students take the state's algebra test beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. It seems that nearly half of all California students aren't taking the algebra test until they reach high school, when it has to be taken in order to graduate.

On December 19, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against the board's decision, stating that it acted outside its jurisdiction and without public input. The judge also indicated that the plaintiffs, the California School Boards Association, would likely win if the lawsuit went to trial. The State Board of Education plans to appeal the decision.

Rather than wrangling with technicalities in court, perhaps the board should reconsider its decision in a venue in which the merits of the plan--which we think are few--are at the forefront.