9/18/2013 9:34:00 AM Letter: Education standards should be uniform
I just found out each state creates its own academic standards. In Arizona, in order to prove the teachers are doing their job, students are given the AIMS test. If they do not pass the reading portion of this test when they are in the third grade, they will be held back.
After my grandson's Del Rio second-grade teacher told him about this procedure, he asked me, "What will happen when someone turns 18 and they still can't pass the test? Will they have to stay in those small desks until they do?"
I think the answer to his question is quite simple. Since the states set their own bar, they can lower it as they see fit so that everyone can pass the mandated AIMS and get out of jail - oh, I mean third grade.
If every state is playing on a different field, does that mean children who live in poor states will get a poor education because the state felt it was prudent to lower its standards so that when that state is compared to itself, it will glow like a nuclear explosion?
When I look at my son's school test results, they look quite impressive because they are higher than the state's average, but that really doesn't mean anything if the standards are lower than what a more prosperous, educated environment expects out of its students.
I think this weasel clause was created because the states are under the federal gun. If this continues, American children will continue to fall behind other countries because we have such low expectations of what our children can accomplish. However, if each state sets the bar at the same level and each state plans on holding back all third-graders who can't pass the reading test, how many 18-year-olds will get stuck in that small seat? Wouldn't it be better if teachers worried less about making sure their students passed a test and more about actually educating them so they develop critical thinking skills, which will enable them to not only survive, but thrive in our advanced world?
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013
Article comment by:
After reading Julie Young's letter, I have to ask, "If a student can't read, how can they develop 'critical thinking skills?'" And what, exactly, are these "critical thinking skills" everyone keeps talking about?