Logic of Ed Reform

I confess I frequently can’t follow the logic of education reform.  For example, we are worried about children scoring below proficient on standardized assessments, so we will spend more time and money on assessments (instead of focusing our efforts on improving instruction).  Or, we are worried about teaching to the test, so we will add more tests (that we expect will be harder for students to earn a proficient score on) with higher stakes–that should fix it.

I heard this week that math topics traditionally taught in an Algebra 1 course are now being shifted to earlier grades.  This morning I came across this Education Week article from last April that reports that under the Common Core, “about 40 percent of concepts now taught in Algebra 2 will shift to Algebra 1.”

In other words, worried that not enough children are scoring proficient in math as it is we are going to expect them to master the concepts in fewer years of school.  Does this seem crazy to anyone else?  Because, here’s the thing.  No one actually has to take calculus in high school (although I don’t mind if students who are ready have the option to take it).  College-bound students just need to be prepared to start with first-year calculus.  If almost half of Algebra 2 (typically taken in 11th grade at my high school) is shifted to 9th grade or earlier–how many students will be ready to succeed and what other math are they going to study for the rest of high school?

If anyone understands the purpose of accelerating math for all students and the value in it–please leave a comment.

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