Monthly Archives: May 2016

Why are Colorado parents ‘dangerously overconfident’ about their kids’ achievement?

According to a recent report, 90 percent of parents nationwide believe their children are on track in reading and math—when in fact fewer than 40 percent reach proficiency on a national exam called NAEP. In my home state of Colorado, the gap between parental beliefs and student proficiency yawns nearly as wide: 86 percent believe their students are meeting or… Read more →

Will Illinois’ new school discipline law make schools safer?

Perhaps it is to be expected in our politically polarized country, but opinions about the state of discipline in our public schools fall into two fundamentally irreconcilable camps: There is far too much—or far too little. Consequently, we live in a nation where lawsuits and federal or state enforcement actions are simultaneously either demanding schools provide a safe learning environment… Read more →

Teachers’ second chances are about resilience, not academic coddling

Several weeks ago, I saw the results of one of my son’s math tests. Not bad, but I noticed that he missed one or two for silly reasons. “It’s fine, mom,” he told me. “I’ll re-do those for partial credit.” I mentioned this to a relative (who shall go nameless), and he scoffed at the idea that a teacher would… Read more →

Is the ‘math myth’ holding back students who don’t need it?

The Oklahoman, news interview, 5/26/2016

Are high school algebra requirements a needless stumbling block or a necessary bridge to success? The answer depends on who you ask.

If you ask advocates of the new common core standards, more algebra is better. Common Core, now adopted by 46 states, requires high school students to pass Algebra II.

Ironically, one of the states that won’t be participating is Texas, which dropped its Algebra II graduation requirement in 2014, after being one of the first states to adopt the requirement in the early 2000s. Texas dropped its requirement under pressure from local industry groups, who argued that career readiness did not require higher math, and that the Algebra 2 requirement was preventing kids from graduating.

Andrew Hacker, a retired political science professor who spent most of his career at Queens College in New York City, has become the leading national spokesman for the controversial notion that we ask our high school students to do too much math.

The Audacity of Accountability: Shame on Long Island’s ‘Wall of Shame’

Michael Goot in the upstate New York Post Star reports on a website called the Wall of Shame that currently highlights 15 school principals and superintendents, most from Long Island, who have expressed support for standards and assessments.  In response, the coalition called High Achievement New York sent a letter to several New York State legislators asking them to “ help us… Read more →

Shining a spotlight on the urban problems that plague suburban schools

A recent story in the Daily Herald painted a grim picture of a Chicago suburban district struggling mightily with some big city problems: high poverty and low graduation rates, high absenteeism and  low teacher morale, high mobility and low test scores. The suburban newspaper is highlighting a problem that is getting little attention in the education debates: suburban districts that don’t… Read more →

Massachusetts: An education fairy tale tempered by hard truths

We all hold up Massachusetts as the gold standard in K-12 education and in many ways, it is. (I even wrote a blog entitled, “Be Like Mass.”) The state where public education got its start tops the rankings year after year and was a pioneer in reform long before most other states shook off the cobwebs and started making needed changes to… Read more →

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