Captain Hammer’s National Standards Will Save Us!

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Michael Winerip had a doozy of a column over the weekend, exposing what look like some really seriously dumbed down state standards in New York. But don’t worry! Just like Captain Hammer, national standards are here to save us.

There’s no doubt Winerip has what looks like a pretty damning indictment of the NY English Regents exam. Here are some actual student responses that the state grading guide says should get middling or even higher scores:

  • These two Charater have very different mind Sets because they are creative in away that no one would imagen just put clay together and using leaves to create Art.
  • In the poem, the poets use of language was very depth into it.
  • Even though their is no physical conflict withen each other. Their are jealousy problems between each other that each one wish could have.
  • In life, “no two people regard the world in exactly the same way,” as J. W. von Goethe says. Everyone sees and reacts to things in different ways. Even though they may see the world in similar ways, no two people’s views will ever be exactly the same. This statement is true since everyone sees things through different viewpoints.

Bear in mind that these are not just examples pulled from student exams that actually got middling or higher scores. These are examples held up in the state scoring guide as examples of answers that should get middling or higher scores. In effect, the state is mandating low standards from the top.

But don’t worry!

They are also counting on a new set of national learning standards, known as the common core, which are currently being developed in more than 40 states. The hope is that more sophisticated standards detailing what children should know, coupled with more sophisticated curriculums and exams, will result in a more rigorous public education system.

“The D.O.E./Board of Regents position on the passing score for this exam, with attention to college and career readiness, will be re-examined in conjunction with administering a revised exam in this subject area aligned to the Common Core State Standards,” a spokesman for [New York State education commissioner] Dr. [John] King wrote.

Thank heaven! The exact same people who produced the current mandatory dumbing down are now going to produce a new set of standards. Surely that will result in a lifting of standards!

8 Responses to Captain Hammer’s National Standards Will Save Us!

  1. George Mitchell says:

    The “Common Core Standards” are the functional equivalent of the five year plans and blue ribbon commissions that new superintendents and school boards use to forestall real action or reform. Wisconsin education reporters say that while our state may rank low when its highly “proficient” students are measured on a NAEP scale…not to worry because the same bureaucracy that administered the current rankings are going to implement the Common Core Standards in 2015.

  2. Alsadius says:

    Ow, my brain.

  3. Adding insult to injury, I’ve noted after returning to the States after a five year turn in London, that all of these wonderful common standards mean the teachers are constantly assessing children. It isn’t simply that they are teaching to the test; that would be bad enough. Schools are so focused on the standards that precious little else seems to happen at school.
    When I start a rant about comparisons between a US and UK education, most assume that the difference is academics. Actually, in pure academics, maths, reading, science, I don’t notice a significant difference between the US and UK–and my comparison involves nursery and elementary education in UK private school and a US public school. What screams out to me is how narrow an American education is–isolated technical competence and little else. And this drive to uniform standards across a vast country is the primary cause of such narrowness.

    • Greg Forster says:

      Actually, I wonder if the drive for standards isn’t more a symptom than a cause. The underlying cause, I would propose, is that Americans no longer feel confident that they have a shared culture. Schools teach technical competence and little else because that’s all they are able to teach without courting the kind of divisive controversy that undermines the school’s standing in the community and parent/school trust (if not, indeed, “courting” expensive lawsuits).

  4. Chan S. says:

    “The day needs my saving ‘expertise'”.

    Also, +1 (but not *that* kind of “1”) @George Mitchell.

  5. The Common Core Reading Standards for HS students contain enough nonfiction to occupy a HS student reading on grade level for an entire afternoon. Dumbed Down to the Max.

    Will Fitzhugh

  6. Niki Hayes says:

    Your last paragraph says it all: The same people who set up the awful grading standards are setting up the Common Core grading standards. This is the story of public education. The same leaders who have overseen disastrous decisions and results are being used to oversee the new federal program. They never get fired. They just move into tighter cloisters of power.

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