And, the very first article wasted no time grabbing my attention.
For starters, the article has some notable technical errors about when CCSS and the related tests started in Kentucky (More on that later).
However, the really big deal involves other, more substantial revelations. The newspaper reports:
“The biggest change: Students will learn to think critically, beginning as early as kindergarten….
In some classrooms, you’ll see children at the kindergarten level solving problems….”
Hold on a minute! Only in SOME classrooms? Not all?
This sounds like they are going to start tracking kids in their very first year of school. Good Grief!
Now, all of you who can remember back to the early days of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 (KERA), listen to this promise in the Enquirer about the CCSS:
“The focus has been shifted to having students think about how they got their answer and be able to explain their process through the use of numbers, words and pictures….”
There is absolutely nothing new here for Kentucky! We heard virtually the same “stuff” from the opening days of KERA 23 years ago.
Even more serious, Kentucky’s long-term experience with such Progressive Education approaches has not worked well. As of the 2012 testing of our 11th grade students with the ACT college entrance test, well under half of those students were on track for the minimal college math and reading proficiency levels expected in Kentucky’s postsecondary education system. That’s the best Kentucky’s public school students could do after 22 years of KERA.
Worse still, this fall our 10th graders took the ACT’s PLAN test. According to that test, which is closely aligned to the ACT and uses ACT’s somewhat tougher college readiness standards, only 25.7 percent of our students were ready for the rigors of college math. Fewer still, just 21.1 percent would be able to handle a college science course. To be sure, Kentucky has shown some progress on tests like the ACT, but the pace has been very, very slow.
One thing is for certain, the Progressivist approach being pushed by the CCSS does waste time. Look at this next quote from the Enquirer:
“Gorman said later that though the class handled only a few math questions that day, they learned a lot about sticking with a vexing problem.”
There you have it…not much math…lots of aimless discussion.
Oh, yes, this pressing problem that students took a whole math class period to discuss:
“Gorman gave them a word problem that included measurements of a toy snake, the kind that jumps out of boxes, and a question: would that snake fit best in a box or in a can of equal width and height?”
By the way, at the end of the day the Enquirer says the teacher would not tell her students the right answer to the problem. I wonder if the teacher even knows that there is one (assuming we are talking about the amount of material required to make the two containers, a classic algebra problem not clearly stated in the teacher’s question).
What a great way to leave students wondering and frustrated.
What a great way to mostly waste a day in eighth grade algebra!
And, how sad the teachers apparently don’t see that!