Among the most disturbing facts about U.S. schools is that 17-year-olds have shown no significant improvement in reading since 1980.certainly did not help.
Is he serious? That's one of the most disturbing facts?
Every year we test a different bunch of 17-year-olds as the bunch tested the previous year are now 18-year-olds. Somehow each bunch of 17-year-olds should be smarter than the ones that came before them. How does that work?
Are 17-year-olds now significantly better drivers than 17-year-olds were in 1980? Do we expect them to be? Are 17-year-olds significantly kinder, more generous now than 17-year-olds were in 1980? Should they be? Why should students now be smarter than students 30 years ago? Are we suggesting that those students 30 years ago weren't so bright?
We should set high expectations for our students and for our schools. But those expectations shouldn't be based on students doing better each year than the students before them.
Are the young journalists smarter, better writers, more thoughtful than the older journalists? If they were the 17-year-old in 1980 should they be losing their job to the 17-year-old coming up who should be a significantly better reader than they were. Watch out Jay Mathews!
Mathews goes on to write about the Common Core State Standards. (Virginia has not adopted them so I honestly haven't paid too much attention to them.) He manages to really get me riled up again when he says:
Supporting the new standards is a movement to improve children's reading abilities by replacing elementary school pablum with a rich diet of history, geography, science, and the arts.(I will admit to checking a dictionary to be sure that my feelings of offense by the term 'pablum' were warranted. They most certainly were.)
As an elementary school teacher who spends a lot of time thinking about the texts I share with, read to, or assign my students, both fiction and nonfiction, I am highly offended by this idea.
With only a few minutes left before getting my students from art class, I am now going to focus on something much happier and more hopeful - planning reading groups.