What’s Wrong?

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has an article about a mini-summit on education, following low test scores on last year’s botched TN Ready tests.

The first thing we must ask ourselves is, have we tried to do too much?  In recent years, the Legislature has continued to add mandatory requirements.  Financial literacy, the citizenship test, additional PE, additional unstructured physical activity (recess), an additional year of math in high school along with three required lab sciences… and those are just from the last decade!

Don’t get me wrong: all of those things are useful, to varying degrees.  But with each thing you add and don’t take something else away, you detract from the time available to teach the core curriculum.  With that, learning suffers.

No matter what we do, each of us has to prioritize.  You can do a small number of things well, or you can attempt a large number of things, where something is going to suffer.  Either it won’t get done, or the quality isn’t up to par.

I want our students to be able to read, write, calculate, and think critically.  If they can do those things, the rest will follow.