Students granted waivers for algebra |

Students granted waivers for algebra

William Ferchland

Approximately 100 seniors at South Tahoe High School were granted waivers from an algebra requirement that will be necessary for graduation next year.

The students were part of a group of 13,000 seniors who were granted clemency by the California State Board of Education for not passing algebra.

Barbara Davis, assistant superintendent for Lake Tahoe Unified School District, said the waivers for STHS included special education, transfer and regular students.

Juniors who will be seniors next year will not have the luxury of waivers. Those who do not pass algebra will not receive a diploma.

In addition, sophomores will have two years to pass the high exit exam to graduate in 2006.

Principal Marcia Kaster said two new math courses will be introduced next school year: senior algebra and a junior class regarding math on the high school exit exam.

A computer program is scheduled to be established next school year to help tutor students in math, Kaster added.

The classes and computer program are intended to help struggling students meet the upcoming requirements.

“The bar has been raised for all students and to be successful in today’s world they will need those skills … No longer can we accept students who squeak by,” Kaster said.

Completing a basic course of algebra was made a requirement by SB 1354, authored by state Sen. Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno, which was signed into law in 2000.

Roughly 50 percent of the 400 school districts in California applied for waivers.

“In the past year, California has delayed the day of reckoning for thousands of students who are either not being taught, or are not learning a basic math skill that the state has deemed necessary for a high school diploma,” Poochigian said in a Friday statement. “The goal of education is not to make people feel good, it is to stimulate students intellectually and prepare these students to be successful in a competitive 21st century work force.”

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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