… one solution is to lower testing standards.
In New York State, the Board of Regents plans to reduce the minimal score necessary for a student to be considered proficient in subjects like English and math. From the article at the link:
Last year some schools posted shocking results — in Schenectady, no eighth grader who took the math test scored as proficient.
By reducing the standards of minimal proficiency, we’ll still be able to claim that some kids do know math.
Just a few observations about New York City public schools:
- There are schools where getting an ‘A’ is really easy, even without competence in a subject. Hand in the assignment, get a checkmark, and you’re good to go. Sometimes, students quickly realize they aren’t learning anything. Other times, realization comes from failing a state exam.
- There are schools that shove students along from one grade to another, passing them so that they move ahead, and they arrive in high school struggling badly with math and literacy, including concepts and skills they ideally would have learned years earlier. They arrive without various kinds of basic knowledge and without good study habits.
- The Department of Education inspires no confidence, although it does produce fuzzy, pleasant-sounding words about the supposed nobility of its aims.
- It’s worth pointing out that there are excellent teachers and schools too. I’m just highlighting the fact that apathy, burnout, and soft expectations are major problems. Poor policies, ineffective educational methods, and large class sizes affect the general student population; however, students from low-socioeconomic status households feel the negative impact most strongly.
- Kids whose parents can afford private tutors will hire tutors, or they’ll wind up sending their kids to private schools. Other kids will discover new ways of not learning math, reading, or writing, as the city implements various kinds of educational reforms that fail to address pervasive problems.
For now, that’s all I’m going to say on the subject of NYC schools. Until recent years, I didn’t realize just how much contempt there is for children.