Friday, January 19, 2007

Oregon to Raise Graduation Requirements

My opinion--and it's only my opinion, completely unsupported by any evidence--is that the problem with graduation requirements is at the low end of the spectrum, not the high end. Kids who can't pass today's requirements aren't going to be able to pass tomorrow's. What does Oregon gain by this?

Those who graduate will definitely have a better education, and that's a good thing. But what about those at the bottom? I wonder what Oregon's real drop-out rate is, and how they're addressing that with these new requirements.


Mike said...

Simply adding additional years of math or science to graduation requirements don't add up to an improved education unless one buys the idea that only the schools (teachers) are responsible for a given student's education. One more year of any class won't make a bit of difference to a student who is indifferent or disengaged, or whose parents haven't a clue what their child is doing in school.

Indeed, more and more students are entering college unprepared, but this is because we have made it easy for students to enter college who in years past would never have been considered to be college material. Simply put, they just didn't have the intellectual abilities to succeed in a true college environment. So we've watered down college to be accepting of those who are not and will not be prepared for it.

The simple truth is that people whose IQ is average or below just aren't as capable in academic pursuits as those with higher IQs. No matter how many additional classes we expose them to, nothing will change the basic calculus that not everyone is equal in intelligence and academic ability. Fortunately, because at least 49% of the population is going to be below average, to be successful in life one need not be in the upper 10% in intelligence. This is a good thing.

The bad thing is that until people start listening to actual, accomplished teachers regarding education issues, we'll continue to waste billions listening to people like Bill Gates whose education credentials...oh wait, he doesn't have any (apart from manufacturing the world's buggiest, most virus-vulnerable software), does he?

Anonymous said...

Texas is experimenting with this as well. This year's freshmen are under what's been called the Four by Four plan in where they are supposed to take four years of science and math in four years of high school. The goal is to produce more engineers and techie types, but my question has been if you look at the kids who are on the lower end of the spectrum, they are struggling to graduate under minimum guidelines. If they are having a hard time passing Chemistry and Geometry, what is going to happen when they are made to take Physics and Calculus in order to graduate? After a couple of times failing the same class, a good number of them will probably give up and drop out. And that in turn impacts the AYP, that almight number that governs whether the school is "successful". Once again, while we need an educated population, we also need people to work in all kinds of jobs, some of which do not require knowledge of these subjects. Given the number of adults who fail to understand basic economics of income and outgo, maybe we would be better served as a nation if instead of higher math subjects, everyone took a class in managing household accounts and keeping a checkbook.

Darren said...

That's what we used to call Consumer Math, but it was zapped years ago as being flunkie math.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it should be required of all elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Mike, been reading Charles Murray's WSJ essays lately? You've basically paraphrased them - without attribution. Tsk tsk.