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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
Quick, what’s the value of x in 3x/2 + 5 = 20? Don’t know? If you’re rusty since it’s been a while since your last high school algebra class, we’ll forgive you for now. But if you’re a soon-to-be high school graduate celebrating your recent college decision, then we have some cautionary news for you and your parents: You may… Read more →
Education Week, 5-17-2016
A first-of-its-kind study has found that students who score at the “college-ready” level on the PARCC exam are well-positioned to earn good grades in college. The findings provide early evidence that the assessment does what it was designed to do: measure college readiness.
The Massachusetts Department of Education commissioned Mathematica Policy Research to do the study last year, as it was considering whether to use PARCC in 2017 or keep using its longtime test, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS. Massachusetts decided to create a hybrid of the two tests. A summary of the study, which compares PARCC and MCAS, was published Tuesday in a peer-reviewed journal, Education Next.
Researchers at Mathematica wanted to know how closely a “college-ready” score on PARCC and a “proficient” score on MCAS correlate with a good grade-point-average in freshman-year college study, and with the need to take remedial courses. They had freshmen in Massachusetts state colleges and universities take the PARCC and the MCAS in the spring of 2015 and examined how those scores, from 847 students, correlated with their grades and remediation patterns at the time.
Suburban schools have slipped under the radar when it comes to the biggest philanthropic investments and most controversial reforms to roil the education space—school closures, charter growth, teacher evaluations and state interventions. But suburban schools need to wake up from their long complacent slumber. As a new report points out, these schools are ill equipped to deal with the mounting challenges they… Read more →