Thursday, May 29, 2008

“Change in requirements” = “Increase the rigor”
Good Luck with that

Charlie Hoff wrote this response to the SBE recent thinking or lack thereof.

Just by the magic of a “change in requirements” the State Board of Education is going to “increase the rigor” of our state’s high schools?

I don’t think so!
The State Board of Education can pass as many “regulations” and “aspirations” as they have time to, and this will not change the deplorable state of academic achievement for the vast majority of pupils who are attending our high schools.

The statistic of 17% of Seattle Public School Seniors meeting the modest admissions requirements for this state’s public colleges tells it all. If we make a reasonable estimate that includes the drop-outs in this equation the number is closer to 13% This is approximately the incarceration rate for our youth!

But even before we get to this point, we need a very exact definition what it means to “pass” any class. Not something that is locally developed in each school district. Until we do this we are going to find grade inflation will “solve” the problem without any change in learning.

We don’t need more credit requirements to solve this problem either. The level of diversions that schools already have far exceeds the offerings of any of the schools in this world that we wish to match.

What we do need is some direct relationship between success in academics in school and privilege.

If we linked extra-curricular activities, driver’s licenses, and ability to work during the school year to passage of Algebra 1 by the end of 9th grade, and Algebra II in the 10th grade we could change the achievement levels in a year.

As long as there are no consequences for failure, until it is too late, we are going to face a significant portion of our student population that is not in school for “learning.” These students will, as the President of UW stated, “be preparing for a career as a car wash attendant.”

When we close our juvenile social halls and open places of learning, this achievement problem is very likely to minimize.

Charles Hoff, School Board Member (Ret)


Anonymous said...

Increase the rigor = adopt Sinagapore + get rid of the NSF grants.

No more gravy train for the math 'morons'.

You don't have to be a math professor to teach Singapore, its simple and painless.

Open the books and read them. It would do Americans some good.

dan dempsey said...

You do need to know a fair amount of Math content to teach Singapore.

This could be a WA State problem. TB has emphasized continued training for teachers ... but... even with 62% of WA teachers with Masters degrees... it seems many are weak in the math content area..

Look at Seattle's Everyday Math adoption and the training ... just more non-content garbage from the SPS.

They are following the non-content garbage model advocated by OSPI for all. Professional Development ??? OK I give up what profession?

Anonymous said...

That was a problem I encountered with showing teachers all that could be done with geoboards. No one was interested in learning how it was possible to construct the square root of 11 with a geoboard. The square root of 8 was important however and you can use it as an introduction to a proof for the Pythagorean theorem.

The reason they gave was kids didn't need to know these things to be successful with the curriculum we were using?

This seemed irrelevant in my mind -I'm interested in testing the limitations of curriculum and the models we use as tools for learning mathematics.

Curriculum should not limit itself and integrated math is seriously constrained by what it offers students - manipulating natural numbers.

why would you adopt curriculum that was less than what students get from Singapore? Teachers could be taught Singapore, but I would push for at least 100 hours or about 4 times the training given by a Core plus trainer and it should be done throughout the year, not just during the summer. CPM's trainings are far superior in this respect compared to what most publisher's provide.

Anonymous said...

We could learn alot by looking at Singapore. We have more in common than we appreciate. Foremost, they are a diverse culture which has had to overcome a past history of racial policies. Education provided the vehicle for integration. The US has not succeeded in that respect. We talk about integration, but we have not achieved it, at least to my satisfaction. Washington schools are a case in point.

Integration will only be achieved by adopting a nationalized curriculum that maximizes student achievement by preparing all students for college. That is indisputable. Students don't have to take the entire curriculum, but they should be in the same curriculum track, so they have the opportunity to achieve. We are a long ways from achieving that dream.