I don't have the answers either.
I believe in standards, but the "right" ones.
But let's not be too quick to say those are the 3 R's - Reading, (W)riting, and (A)rithmatic, because at least with the last one, when it morphs into Algebra, there's good evidence that this subject is both unnecessary and that the teaching of it is costing us a many children who would otherwise become productive learners and adults.
Our kids are sinking in Algebra
(image by NY TImes)
Says Andrew Hacker, a professor at Queen's college, NY and author of "Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids -- and What We Can Do About It."
This debate matters. Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent. In the interest of maintaining rigor, we're actually depleting our pool of brainpower. I say this as a writer and social scientist whose work relies heavily on the use of numbers. My aim is not to spare students from a difficult subject, but to call attention to the real problems we are causing by misdirecting precious resources.
Yet, we are also told by those who would hire them, that today's graduates are critically short of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills.
Can we really identify such students early on, or do we risk creating a subclass, or sub class, of students who are "divergent?"
And don't think students can retreat to the Arts either. Today comes this report about the gutting of the Arts programs by NY City's new Comptroller, Scott Stringer:
Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller
(image by Scott Stringer)
New York City is the cultural capital of the world, but its public schools don't always reflect this artistic richness.
More than 400 high school and middle schools have no full-time
certified arts teachers, and 10 percent of all schools lack even a
dedicated art room.
These were just some of the findings in my office's new report "State of the Arts: A Plan to Boost Arts Education In New York City," a
first-of-its-kind, school-by-school analysis that reveals deep
inequities in access to arts education, especially for kids from our
The situation is especially dire for children in Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, where more than 42 percent of schools have no certified arts teachers, and nearly half have no dedicated arts rooms.
Arts education can--and should--play an important role in the lives of our children. It deepens their understanding of the world around them, and gives them the skills they'll need to compete in the 21st century marketplace.
With new leadership at the Department of Education, our City is well-positioned to expand arts education in our schools. Putting a certified arts teacher in every City school is a priority that we can and must achieve.
Learn more about my plan to improve arts education for every child and check out our online map to see the state of arts education in your neighborhood school.
Let's make sure that all our children have access to a rich and robust arts education -- one that is worthy of our great city, and that can help to lead our kids to vibrant careers in the arts and beyond.
(image by Scott Stringer)
It's enough to make one want to reach for the cheat sheets! You won't be alone, says this report: