Saturday, December 20, 2008

Consigning Students To Mediocrity

The elected state Board of Education mandated in July that all 8th graders take an Algebra 1 test as part of our standardized testing; if I'm not mistaken, this requirement is to bring us into compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act. Even students who haven't taken Algebra 1 yet will be required to take this test. This requirement goes into effect in 2011.

A superior court judge has tentatively ruled no.

I received an email about this from a member of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and also read the article linked above,and since neither provides the information I seek I'm compelled to ask: on what legal basis did this judge rule? Why are the legislature, which mandates standardized testing, and the BOE, which issues policy, not allowed to require this test? What, exactly, is illegal about this requirement from two elected bodies?

There's nothing illegal about it. This is judicial activism in its purest form.


Anonymous said...

From SFGate, the legal basis for the ruling is/was:

"... the board appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't give enough public notice before its vote and stepped outside its legal authority in making the decision."

This is at least *plausible*.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

Perhaps. Doesn't sound like a very strong argument to me, especially given that we have over 2 years before this required testing kicks in.

Babbie said...

You live in California. What else would you expect?

Anonymous said...

" ... especially given that we have over 2 years before this required testing kicks in."

The claim was a lack of public notice before the *vote*, not before the *implementation*. So the 2 years before implementation doesn't matter.

In any event, I'll note that the judge has only stayed the implementation pending further hearing, *not* voided it. With two years to go, I suspect that we'll either get a void or a continue before the 2 years are up.

What I do find vastly amusing (and sad) is that 8th grade algebra is *remedial* for places like Singapore and Russia. And we are treating it like this massive acceleration.


-Mark Roulo

Micha Elyi said...

You're mistaken, Darren, the new game of test-the-eighth-graders on Algebra 1 has nothing to do with the No Child Left Behind Act.

Rather, it's got a lot to do with a cargo cult mentality on the part of California educrats and the sitting governor who appointed them.

Darren said...

Are you so sure it has nothing to do with being told by the US Dept of Ed that if we have 8th grade algebra as a standard, then we have to test to that standard?

Just tossing out your snarky comment isn't enough to convince me.