New National Standards for Math?May 23, 2010 at 9:10 am | Posted in uncategorized | 1 Comment
Posted by Angela Tessoni
In March of 2010, there was an article in the Boston Globe that stated,
Governors and education leaders on Wednesday proposed sweeping new school standards that could lead to students across the country using the same math and English textbooks and taking the same tests, replacing a patchwork of state and local systems in an attempt to raise student achievement nationwide.
48 out of our 50 states have endorsed the new national standards and are willing to possibly adopt them, and guess who is refusing to adopt the new standards?
That’s right, Texas! But that is whole other topic of conversation. There is even a strong debate in California (no surprise) on whether to adopt the new standards (http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_14780292?nclick_check=1)
Where I want the focus on this blog to be is on how will these new set of standards change how we teach math and if it will help us bridge any gaps in content-area literacy.
Right now one of the main focus points of the these new national standards is to teach some topics earlier, hopefully leading to more college-ready students and to push them to think more critically and rigorously at a younger age. The other main focus is that each grade level wouldn’t be filled as many topics/concepts. This would mean that teachers wouldn’t feel the pressure of trying to fit so much into on school year or feel the need to just skim over all the material. It would give the students an opportunity to delve deeper into concepts and gain deeper understandings. These two main points would lead to higher expectations, and more rigorous course work, which would hopefully start to bridge the gap with other countries that are ahead of the U.S. in the math and science race.
As a 9th grade Algebra teacher, I would love the opportunity to spend more time on specific topics and not feel so rushed throughout the year to fit in everything that these students need to learn. I always feel like I am moving on even when my students are not ready to move on. The new standards would be wonderful in the sense that we could slow down and really develop our students’ understandings of key concepts. We could have time to teach them reading and literacy strategies without having the excuse of “I don’t have the time to teach that stuff.” With the new standards, students could really take time to find meanings, make connections, and gain those deeper understandings. How could that not raise student acheivement?
Are these new national standards in the best interest of our country? Should the states have the option to adopt these new standards, or should it be mandated for all states to adopt them? If these are national standards, and the goal is to to make a more uniform curriculum for our country, then shouldn’t it be mandatory? And my final question, what would happen to our state and district standards if they are not in conjunction with the new national standards? There may be a lot of new curriculum writing in our future!