Rigorous academic standards are impossible. Full stop. Sorry, Checker (barriers #3 and #4).
Oklahoma’s recent fold is instructive. In 2005, the legislature voted in Achieving Classroom Excellence, a three-part implementation of tougher high school standards. High school graduates, beginning in 2012, would have to pass end-of-course tests in algebra, geometry, English, history, and science.
But then, the state provided exemptions, which are an entirely different story. According to the exemption requirements, students could score an 18 on the ACT Math subtest (460 or thereabouts on the SAT) and a 15/17 on the English and Reading tests (430 ditto) in order to graduate. Any student who couldn’t pass the state tests faced a far friendlier standard–and a much lower one.
And yet, even with that low bye, Oklahoma is looking to end the requirement, because at least 6,000 students a year are at risk of not graduating.
Given that thousands of Oklahoma ACT testers can’t meet the exemption standard, which is above the mean for African Americans, and just at the mean for Hispanics and Native Americans, that’s not much of a shock.
I can never tell which side does more damage. Progressive educators set standards embarrassingly low while pretending to teach a challenging “idea-rich” curriculum. They think it’s demeaning to teach low ability kids what they need to know, so instead they “scaffold” advanced concepts and lead the kids through a mock-version of the real thing. So the kids “read” Hamlet, but in fact, all they do is watch a movie and talk about how they felt when their moms let them down. They are given difficult math problems to solve, in no particular sequence of instruction, but they don’t really have to solve them. It’s not the answer that’s important, it’s the process of thinking about the problem, didn’t you know?
And as frustrating and fraudulent as this behavior is, eduformers top progressives with their purely delusional insistence that all students can learn the same advanced curriculum.
Simple question: what is the algebra mastery rate for students with sub-100 IQs? What’s that? You don’t know? Well, it doesn’t have to be IQ. Pick the cognitive metric of your choice and take the bottom half. How are they doing in algebra?
You still don’t know?
Then kindly shut up about higher standards for all.