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View Diary: Seattle teachers refuse to give flawed standardized test (121 comments)

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  •  If one can't do... (4+ / 0-)

    ...basic math and comprehend simple contracts, they are unlikely to be able to even manage their money.

    If someone lacks the education to analyze ballot issues such as bond measures using simple math, how can they possibly be an informed voter?

    Children don't really know what they want to do when "they grow up". They also can't analyze if a field is something that there will be much demand for in ten or twenty years. An important goal of education, at least through high school, is to insure that children have a base competency which will not exclude them from pursuing career options - even those they didn't consider when they were in fourth grade.

    I run across middle school students who seriously think they will make a living playing professional sports -- completely oblivious to the fact that they aren't even the best athlete in their targeted sport within their school district that year, let alone the state in the last five years. "Interests" often don't align with "making a living" and "reality" and "contributing to society".

    If High School diplomas don't mean that the holder has some minimal skills, employers can't rely on them and have to administer their own tests for simple skills that almost all jobs will require competency in (for example, reading and basic math). Perhaps employers would band together and require "certifications" (such as is common in some technical fields), but those are relatively expensive for people to obtain and unnecessary in some jobs if a High School diploma from a public school in the United States means the applicant has mastered a minimum set of skills.

    As far as diagramming sentences, that may not be a specific skill that I would think is required for most professions or trades. However, it's closely related to skills that are required for most successful careers (reading and writing) and it's more of a tool for helping to understand sentence structure than a primary skill. If standardized tests are testing sentence diagramming, that may be inappropriate, but testing to identify which word in a sentence is an adjective or an adverb and what part of a sentence is an independent clause seem quite appropriate.

    •  High school diplomas (0+ / 0-)

      Then, have already failed at the task you've set for them.

      (AP) - Facing the future with a college degree is like being in a lifeboat on a roiling sea.

      Facing the future with a high school degree is like being in the water.

      If you're a member of the millennial generation - ages 18 to 34 - who never got beyond 12th grade, expect hard times, say people who study the transition from youth to adulthood.

      "There's nothing for these kids," said Maria Kefalas, a St. Joseph's University sociologist. "Absolutely nothing."

      Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, put it this way: "It's remarkable how much trouble they're in."

      Somehow, making sure we standardize everyone's weakest points has not been producing great results for people with high school diploma.  Also, if you seriously think that a high school diploma gives you the ability to analyze local bond issues... I can't believe you think that.  

      Sure, kids don't know they want to be a mechanic in the airline industry when they're 6.  But even 6 year olds are good at different things.  13 year olds are good at, and interested in, different things.  I think it's a little insulting to the youth to suggest that they all want to be pro sports players, which your anecdotal (but certainly true!) story kind of does.  Perhaps if we reconnected education with actual careers, and not a semi-mythical certificate of readiness, kids would show even more interest in what jobs are available.  As it is, at least from my background, kids are encouraged to never think about it - why should they, when the only point of going to high school is to go to college?  And if you have to know adjectives and adverbs to go to college, sure, cram for it, forget it, who cares anyway?

      •  I agree... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood, Sparhawk

        ...that we have already failed. We should fix that instead of give up.

        I disagree with you about the ability to analyze a bond measure using math. There's nothing that complicated involved that someone with an IQ of 100 who has studied for 12 years shouldn't be able to do if they are expected to learn the necessary skills. Many of these skills are the same ones required for personal finance.

        We need to raise the bar if we are going to compete in the global economy and not continue to decline in global relevance.

        And, as far as education, you might want to reread the comment you responded to -- I never said, or implied, or suggested that "they all want to be pro sports players".

        I think connecting education with actual careers is a fine idea - but not at the exclusion of a general education. Note, for example, that just because 5% of the children "want to be" artists (or whatever the fad of the moment is), doesn't mean there will be enough jobs for all of them in that field. Those that aren't good enough to make a living at it need to have other options and that's where a general education helps. (You don't have to love your job -- although it's nice if you do of course -- but the goal is to support yourself and not be a burden on society and, maybe, to be able to support a non-paying hobby or interest like art).

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