I could not believe how many news outlets found this a compelling story. Did they not feel even the slightest sense of cognitive dissonance? How many “low test score” articles would it have taken for them to stop a minute and wonder if maybe the students aren’t the best judge?
Meanwhile, in the opinion column, Patrick Welsh has the real story, arguing that we are pushing students forward in math when they haven’t mastered the previous class. For example, my algebra II classes, in which 90% of the students got below basic or worse in Algebra I.
Welsh argues that more of these kids would be successful in math–and love it, too!–if we just moved slower. Well, maybe. Some kids have the ability to learn advanced math and just haven’t reached the cognitive development stage. But many kids may never have the cognitive ability to master advanced math.
Of course, we could just make kids take earlier math until they show mastery. But that would be “leaving kids behind” and the racial balance of the kids who were left back would be distressingly imbalanced.
Repeat after me: every educational policy that makes no sense has “disparate impact” pushing it along.
It’s not that only Hispanic and black kids have trouble in math; all math teachers have seen white and Asian kids who have no business taking algbra by junior year. It’s just that there are so much more of them.
We can blame both eduformers and progressives for this one. No one wants to acknowledge that ability matters.
Quick, someone, blame the teachers.