Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baby Steps

I'm reading reviews of new books on school reform, and it's all the usual blather about Proficiency and Accountability and Blah Blah Blah. The usual arguments about whether or not All Students Can Reach Proficiency by 2014. One book posits that if legislation had demanded of doctors that No Patients Die by 2014, the doctors would have fought back. Not sure the analogy holds, but it's interesting.

Does every single student in the United States have the ability to read, write, and do math at a college-ready level? I have no idea. Neither do you. Neither does anybody, really. Our attempts to get them over that line, thus far, have been haphazard and pathetic.

But there's another question that we probably could answer, which is: Does every single student in the United States need to be able to read, write, and do math at a college level?

Folks, we can't even promise our children a solid eighth-grade education by the time they leave high school. Maybe we should start with that promise and see if we can live up to it, before we reach higher.

I mean, it's lovely to hope that all adults in our society will understand Algebra. But the sad fact is that millions of adults in our society do not understand decimals and fractions. And can't write a coherent paragraph.

By aiming at the moon, are we eroding the ground beneath our feet?

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