Dumbing-down the schools

Parents in San Diego (and doubtless elsewhere) are fighting against dumbed—down curriculums adopted to raise the "performance" of low achieving students, partiularly minority and immigrant children. The Wall Street Journal reports ($link):

When San Diego's school district began overhauling its science—education curriculum five years ago, it wanted to raise the performance of minority, low—income and immigrant students.

But parents in middle— and upper—income areas, where many students were already doing well, rebelled against the new curriculum, and a course called Active Physics in particular. They called it watered—down science, too skimpy on math.

A resistance movement took hold. Some teachers refused to use the new textbooks, which are peppered with cartoons. They gathered up phased—out texts to use on the sly. As controversy over the issue escalated, it played a part in an election in which the majority of the school board was replaced. Now, further curriculum changes are under consideration.

The skirmishes in the nation's eighth—largest urban school district reflect a wider battle over how to make science classes accessible to a broader array of students while maintaining their rigor.

Most disturbingly, victimologists are maiing arguments which suggest that a work ethic and intelligence are "privileges" that have to be negated. Europe, here we come.

Such disputes are likely to erupt elsewhere as more school districts try to spread their resources for teaching science across a wider array of students. Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, a Washington—based advocacy group for at—risk students, says parents in affluent schools often resist changes that affect students who are already thriving. "People with privileges fight to keep privileges," she says.

Ed Lasky    4 13 06

Parents in San Diego (and doubtless elsewhere) are fighting against dumbed—down curriculums adopted to raise the "performance" of low achieving students, partiularly minority and immigrant children. The Wall Street Journal reports ($link):

When San Diego's school district began overhauling its science—education curriculum five years ago, it wanted to raise the performance of minority, low—income and immigrant students.

But parents in middle— and upper—income areas, where many students were already doing well, rebelled against the new curriculum, and a course called Active Physics in particular. They called it watered—down science, too skimpy on math.

A resistance movement took hold. Some teachers refused to use the new textbooks, which are peppered with cartoons. They gathered up phased—out texts to use on the sly. As controversy over the issue escalated, it played a part in an election in which the majority of the school board was replaced. Now, further curriculum changes are under consideration.

The skirmishes in the nation's eighth—largest urban school district reflect a wider battle over how to make science classes accessible to a broader array of students while maintaining their rigor.

Most disturbingly, victimologists are maiing arguments which suggest that a work ethic and intelligence are "privileges" that have to be negated. Europe, here we come.

Such disputes are likely to erupt elsewhere as more school districts try to spread their resources for teaching science across a wider array of students. Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, a Washington—based advocacy group for at—risk students, says parents in affluent schools often resist changes that affect students who are already thriving. "People with privileges fight to keep privileges," she says.

Ed Lasky    4 13 06