Virginia has its own standards of learning so it’s really hard to compare how we match up with everyone else in the United States and around the world.
But even by Virginia’s standards of learning (the SOLs), reading scores are down. Every fourth child reportedly failed to pass the grade-level reading test, and the statistical results were worse among elementary and middle school students. About 3 out of 10 students didn’t pass the state math exam either. If you lack reading skills, and are challenged by math, how are you able to think very well?
Some may say it’s an improvement that we have state-wide standards. But it’s not acceptable that we have a balkanized set of conflicting and variable nationwide standards.
We compete in an ever shrinking world. Our internet preeminence is up against stiff competition from Chinese tech companies Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, and Alibaba’s US IPO was described recently as “a wake-up call for U.S. tech.” It should also be a “wake-up call” for educators, parents and students.
Our standard of living depends on our ability to export goods and services, and really to out-think our competitors.
We need a standard by which we can agree what Johnny knows about “the three Rs,” to be able to compare him with everyone else, and to devise an educational strategy to redress whatever lack of proficiency Johnny may suffer in Reading or Math. Continue reading