Welcome to Lazy-School and the New Old South
December 9th, 2008. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools voted to relax graduation requirements last night from 28 to 24 credits. Three hours later, San Francisco CA’s school board voted to require ALL its’ high schoolers to pass 15 college prep, or AG courses.
In Charlotte only Larry Gauvreau and Kaye McGarry opposed with Gauvreau stating (recalling from the video tape), “How sad is it that I have to raise my hand at a school board meeting to oppose lowering education standards”.
Well-said Mr. Gauvreau. How on earth can anyone involved in US education support lowering standards.
I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers where he reflects, “Success is a product of opportunity”. In one section he examines what happens to elementary kids reading scores during summer holiday. I’ll paraphrase his findings…
From May to September, poor kids learn nothing, less than 1% improvement; while wealthy kids scores leap by over 50%. Gladwell attributes that difference to the opportunities, and parental push wealthy kids have during the summer.
The “opportunity” for our kids is orchestrated in part by our school boards through policy and funding decisions. On December 9th, 2008 two districts went head to head. Here in Char-Meck, ignorance prevailed.
On a related note, here is Bill Gates speech from last month where, in part, he and Melinda note that not everything they’ve tried is working. Nice to see a true – learning organization.
Yes, we have to try new things, but it doesn’t take a middle-schooler to know that lowering standards is not one of them.