MN Dumming Down By Another Fraction

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Tagged in: Education

Minnesota's must-pass math test goes by wayside

An 11th-grade state test -- many educators think it's too difficult -- has been shelved as a graduation requirement in Minnesota.

Here we go again, folks. Because scores are too low, they are no longer going to require juniors in high school to pass a math test that 8th graders could have less than 30 years ago.

"They had to do something," said Don Pascoe, director of research, assessment and accountability for the Osseo schools. "They [had] set an extraordinarily challenging target for individuals to meet in order to graduate."

Okay.. "extraordinarily challenging"  by what standards? From my understanding, this test was designed for our seniors to have basic math skills closer to what is standard in other modern industrialized nations upon graduation. How is that "extraordinarily challenging"?

I think the real challenges here are that educators no longer educate, they indoctrinate; parents are disinterested in their children's academic lives; less return is expected of each education dollar spent than ever before in American history; kids are spoiled, and less and less is expected of them, at younger and younger ages. Hell, less and less is ENCOURAGED of them at younger and younger ages! 

When I was a kid, I remember someone telling me I shouldn't have been reading Shakespeare at the age of 10. It was too hard for me. That was my 4th grade teacher. I was mad, and read to her the first few pages of Macbeth, explained what it meant, and what was happening in the story. I proved I knew what I was reading, that it WASN'T too hard. Why would any child have to do that? What mindset do our educators have- and have had for some time, since that was back in the mid-seventies- that they are alright with telling a child something is too difficult for them, instead of encouraging a child to tackle  more and more challenging materials on their own?

"One student's life goal was to be a cosmetologist, and the school she wanted to go to required a high school diploma," Pascoe said. "It would have been a real sin for her not to go to cosmetology school because she didn't have really strong math skills."

This is a bogus example and very poor reasoning to dump the test if I ever heard one. Educators know that a GED is accepted pretty much everywhere that a high school diploma is, and the requirements for attaining it are based on a cumulative score of all 5 separate tests taken, to receive it. I know- I took it. My lowest score was on the math portion- if I recall, it was only 60%. But, since I got 98% on the two reading and comprehension tests, and 89% on the history and 80% on the science tests, I passed in the TOP 3% of the state - without picking up a book to study for it.

If all a young person wants in life is cosmetology school, then they don't need that diploma. I don't care if the person cutting my hair has one, as long as it gets cut straight, after all. But, when a 20 year old can't figure out sale prices (25%OFF!) without whipping out the cell phone calculator, or can't find the difference between plumb and level when building a garage, who's fault it it? Everyone's, to a varying degree. Parents who don't require more from their kids, teachers who don't bother teaching, administrators who waste our money on more beaurocracy, and the rest of us  for allowing them to, without a fight.

Comments (12)add comment
Gods Bless The American Education ... er ... Indoctrination System
written by auntypsychotic , May 30, 2009

" ... a math test that 8th graders could have less than 30 years ago. "
5th or 6th graders in my world. I had a terrible math anxiety but even I learned it.
In our home, homework was ONLY done at the kitchen table under (or near to) my mother's gimlet eye. When I was in the 1st grade, we had spelling tests every Friday. The first day of school I came home with 10 words to learn to spell. My folks and sibs worked with me every evening, along with any other homework we had. I can't remember the other 9 words but the first one was "astronaut". By that Friday, I could spell, define and use in a sentence all 10 words. That set the standard for me (my sibs had already been thru it) for the rest of my academic life.
As an adult, when the subject of education in this country comes up in conversation or debate, I tell this story only to hear, repeatedly; "Oh my, that's much to hard a word for such a little kid." To which I always reply; "I didn't know that, so I learned it."
I am like Moon, my folks never put limits on me if I wanted to read or learn something as long as I did whatever it was safely and finished what I started. I could quit once in a while but only after discussing it with them. My parents would certainly never permit a teacher to limit me. We had some "go rounds" with teachers, prinicipals and school boards but I got a very good education in that too.
If I were a parent and could afford it, my kids would go to private school. If I could afford it and wasn't already bonkers, I would home school them with and to the standards I learned from my folks and some magnificent teachers.

Barthélemy Barbancourt
Can I get a spell check on "dumming"?
written by Il Duce’ , May 30, 2009

Would that be dumbing or is dumming correct? I am the last person to ask

written by Kermit , May 30, 2009

That's just dumn.

Well, considering this is ME we're talking about
written by MoonliteSonata , May 30, 2009

Tehnically speaking, it's supposed to be spelled Dumbing, but I like the double M. It feels good. So there.
Now, any other real comments on the article come to mind?

So predictable
written by R-Five , May 30, 2009

Whenever the concept of accountability threatens their unfounded policies, the DFL changes the rules.

Ed Salden
Anyone Else Have Trouble with The Test?
written by Ed Salden , May 30, 2009

There was a sample test in the paper. Four questions.

It seems to me the paper got number one wrong, and number three lacked enough info to solve.

Did anyone else have that problem?

Ed Salden
written by Ed Salden , May 30, 2009

I just figured out number one.

The paper was right.

I'm glad I already graduated high school.

Change over time
written by Nobody , May 30, 2009

My kids span 10 years from oldest to youngest. I saw first hand the "system" Get dumber and dumber. When I was in 3rd grade we had to know the mulitpication tables to get out. My youngest still does not know them. (She's 25) My oldest got them down after being threatened with his life. You know that the college of education students have the lowest ACT/SAT scores?

Not so surprising
written by MoonliteSonata , May 30, 2009

Not at all, to me, anyway. You know the old addage-
"Those who can't do, teach."

dumb as a bag of hammers
written by auntypsychotic , May 31, 2009

" You know that the college of education students have the lowest ACT/SAT scores? "

Sure do. When I was in college I paid my rent and still had plenty of walking around money that I got I got tutoring, proof reading papers and typing them up. Education majors were my best clients and the source of the most repeat customers.
I had one in particular who should not have gotten out of grade school, let alone attend college. After two years of agony, I finally told her; "I can't help you. You are too stupid to live. Go back to junior high." She graduated a year later and went on to teach locally.

I passed
written by R-Five , May 31, 2009

Tried the test, answers are right, but Q3 has incorrect sign, s/b +2 not -2 at the end, so that h=2 if t=0.

I will admit while this would be a common question on a HS algebra test, seems a bit much for a graduation test. But a few are OK, i.e., should be able to pass the test easily even if you can't work this particular problem.

Barthélemy Barbancourt
The test in the paper was poorly written
written by Il Duce’ , May 31, 2009

I got 2 out of the four at lunch.

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