Why Are Scores Low?

Ventura County high school students are invited to enter a monthly essay contest sponsored by The Times. This month’s topic:

About half of this year’s freshmen at Cal State campuses failed basic reading and math exams. Who’s to blame for this poor performance and what should be done?

Here are the rules:

* Eligibility: Any Ventura County high school student may enter.


* Content: Essays must be no longer than 600 words.

* Required information: Entries must include the writer’s name, age, grade and school. A home address and phone number must be supplied, but will not be published.

* Deadline: Essays must be received by noon April 27.

* Submission: Entries should be mailed or delivered to: Education Page Editor, Los Angeles Times, 93 S. Chestnut St., Ventura 93001. They may be submitted by fax (653-7576) or e-mail to


* Judging: Winning entries will be chosen by Times editors for originality, persuasiveness, logic and writing. Research and reference to current events will be considered.

* Publication: Contestants must agree to publication of their work in the newspaper and on The Times’ Web site, subject to editing.

* Prizes: The winner, to receive $100, will be announced on the Education Page on May 4.