697 The Question Is... National educational standards.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago

First, some givens.

a. The federal government has no Constitutional authority regarding education. None!

b. No matter who proposes it, or how it comes down to the states, Common Core is a detailed national standard for education at every level and in every subject, and hence is an imposition upon the states of federal control in an area where the federal government has no legitimate authority.


The Question Is....

Do you want Common Core (or whatever it may be called in Arizona so that it doesn't sound like Common Core)?

But wait!

Before you answer that question, let me propose some changes that would go greatly improve Common Core. Okay?

  1. NCLB to be repealed before C.C. is adopted.

  2. Participation by any school district to be voluntary.

  3. No required testing.

  4. Standards to be a target accepted as an unachievable level of perfection — like sainthood.

  5. Program not be tied in any way to federal, state, or local funds for education, which at the federal and state level are to be given to public school districts as block grants with no strings attached — in the same way that such funds are given to private schools as block grants without strings.

  6. Should any district wish to adopt these or any other standards, or should any district wish to give tests to see whether or not students were achieving said standard, districts could if they wished, and at no cost, simply brush off the standards that were in place before NCLB and use them. Alternatively no district level standards need be set.


The Question Is....

Subject to those six rather reasonable limitations, which would return education back to the days before G. W. Bush and Ted Kennedy instituted NCLB, would you have anything against Common Core?


Pat Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

Tom, I know I am not answering your questions, but did you read anywhere that "they" are making up a new SAT test. I saw it on the internet yesterday but don't know how to find it today.

Like the command key you were telling me about. I can't even find it on my keyboard. Aren't you glad I wasn't one of your students in school? (:


Tom Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago

Pat, on most computers the Command keys are the two keys to the left and right of the spacebar. Try typing something short and then pressing Command-z. It should erase the change. And here's another good thing: If you don't like what the Command-z did, press it again and it'll undo the undo. It's a real lifesaver.

As to the subject of this string, there is nothing wrong with American education, so there's nothing to fix. Therefore, we can go back to local control and forget the whole thing that was started by NCLB to turn public schools over to greedy businessmen. After a while, by getting rid of unneeded positions as people retire, we can cut the cost of education by about 50%.

The first thing to do is to get rid of NCLB so that private industry will quit drooling over all those school funds.

The second thing? Just one federal law that says that educational grants to states by the federal government, and by the states to local school districts, will be block grants — no strings attached.

Then teachers can get back to teaching and kids can get back to learning.

Or would you prefer to have people in ivory towers writing goals like these (and far worse ones) for 4th grade kids?

  1. Name, locate, and graph points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane using ordered pairs.

  2. Plot line segments in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane using a set of ordered pairs in a table.

  3. Construct geometric figures with vertices at points on the coordinate plane.

You finished the 4th grade didn't you? Good! Tell me what the those three goals — and the hundreds more like them for any and every grade — mean.

In fact, just define one phrase: "coordinate plane."

C'mon! If it's important that a nine year old should be able to do it, why isn't it important for you to be able to do it?


Pat Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

I wasn't taught it. Don't have a clue what it pertains to.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago

Neither does anyone else, Pat — except for mathematicians who think that everyone should know as much about math as they do. The same is true in other areas.

The purpose of our schools is provide a broad general education which prepares kids to move into the REAL world and function well there, plus the additional background for the rare few who need to go on to college, and a chance for those who have an interest in some subject to delve into it (including sports, music, art, and much more), thereby setting themselves up to lead happy productive lives. Classrooms should be places where kids feel good because they know they are learning things they will actually use. They should not be the "one size fits all" torture chambers they are today.

What math should a grade school child know when he or she leaves 8th grade? How to add, subtract, multiply, and divide — and do it well. That's what people need. What additional math should a youngster graduating from high school know? A smattering of VERY basic algebra and a competence in Euclidian geometry taught WITHOUT all the symbols that have been introduced by people who know nothing about teaching. From 335 BC to 1973 AD, we did just fine with statements like "things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other" to prove something in geometry, but then people who knew nothing about teaching introduced symbols into geometry, thereby making it 10 to 15 times as hard to learn.

Why did they do that? They were asleep in their teaching methods courses, I guess. They should have learned that language facility is THE greatest indicator of intelligence. They blithely created a new language, a set of symbols kids have to learn to do geometry, which before that time needed only the simplest knowledge of English. The result? Geometry went from the most popular math class to dead last.

Why is that important? A basic knowledge of geometry is a VERY important life skill. You can't even saw a 45 degree angle on a board or fold material correctly without knowing a little about angles et al.

People making educational decisions all too often know nothing about teaching — how we learn, why we learn, and what interferes with learning. I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone set up a class schedule for someone in which he or she went directly from one math class to another. Any trained educator knows that retroactive inhibition will cause two similar subjects taught without an overnight break between them to interfere with each other.

I'll tell you what, if someone put me in charge of education in this country I'd have things straightened out in two years, and kids, parents, administrators, employers, college teachers — and especially taxpayers! — would be out in the streets cheering the changes.

It does not take a genius to see what's wrong with the mess we have today because of uninformed interference in what is a very special area of skill and knowledge: HOW TO TEACH!


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