Education: Failure in Los Angeles

How many feet are there in a yard?

What letter comes before M—K, L,

N, or 0?

What time is it?

Such simple questions, and 657 more just like them, were put last spring to 30,000 Los Angeles schoolchildren by Associate Superintendent Maurice G. Blair. Last week parents and teachers got a look at the results and yelped with pained surprise.

Among the eleventh graders (aged 16 to 18), 3% could not tell the time shown on a drawing of a clock, 8% did not know how many feet there are in a yard, 4% could not say what letter comes before M, and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!