New Standards: a footnote

Scanning through the education stories in the New York Times today, I ran across the following:

While the question of how effective teachers are at moving students forward is a critical one for their bosses, many parents are equally interested in which schools are most likely to, say, have students reading at grade level or ensure that sophomores are mastering algebra.

Sophomores?  Heck, if they wait until their sophomore year to master Algebra, there’s no chance of meeting the new graduation standards in Tennessee.

They absolutely have to master Algebra I by the end of 9th grade, or they won’t graduate on time (barring the miracle of passing two sequential math classes simultaneously).

Many children can master Algebra I by 8th grade.  That has to be the new goal.

5 Responses to “New Standards: a footnote”

  1. on 21 Nov 2008 at 12:49 am Bell

    Wow. I took Algebra I in 9th grade… it really wasn’t an option to do otherwise. Pre-algebra in 8th grade was as big as it got. I remember a few kids who had the Algebra teacher in a special class (not for credit) in 9th grade… times change. I hope I can help with homework in 3 years… sheesh.

  2. on 21 Nov 2008 at 11:53 am Joel

    I took Algebra I in 8th grade at Jefferson Jr High, but there was tracking back then–only some 8th graders were elegible. Of course, this was back in the ’60s.

    My daughter had two years of calculus in high school. When I was at ORHS, there was only one year offered, and only a few students took it.

  3. on 21 Nov 2008 at 12:01 pm Netmom

    More is offered (both in middle and high school) than was when any of us were in school, and that’s a very good thing. Many, many more students are able to put away a year or two of calculus in high school, which helps tremendously in college.

    But, are these the students who need to be squeezed out of having a few hours in high school of elective choices in the name of “higher standards?”

    Seems like giving everyone cod liver oil, just because a few have a stomach ache.

  4. on 21 Nov 2008 at 12:44 pm Joel

    Goals are great. But setting minimum standards is not the same as setting goals. A goal of having every high school student successfully complete a year of calculus is worthy, but unrealistic (I didn’t take calculus in high school–in the end, I think I did pretty well, academically).

    Minimum requirements for graduation? How about the minimum necessary to gain admission to a community college? I don’t know what that is, but presumably it is less than what is required for UT-K.

    I agree there should be room for elective time. One of my sisters is a professional musician. Her senior year in high school, she got to take off the afternoons to go to a practice room in Grove Center. She graduated college and got a MFA from Yale, so I don’t think her career was stunted by not having loads of academic requirments.

  5. on 24 Nov 2008 at 2:15 am Jacket

    “How about the minimum necessary to gain admission to a community college?”

    I agree. Or even a technical school. Granted Algebra, and math in general a needed fundemental, the grade and age that it is taken though is in my opinion a non issue.

    Of course, I am a small school advocate where one can more easily design an individualized program, rather than attempting to pigeon hole students.

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