Tag Archives: Education

Report: Common Core does not prepare students for college

Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores
Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores

First, let’s recall why Common Core was enacted by the Democrats by excerpting this post from The Pulse.

It says:

When Common Core was sprung on the whole nation in 2010, it promised that every kid graduating high school will be “career- and college-ready.” Career-readiness was quickly left by the wayside — nobody, including the NAGB [National Assessment Governing Board], could figure out what it means — but college-readiness remained the “chicken in every pot” promise of Common Core.

The Daily Signal reports on a new report by the American College of Testing, the group behind the ACT college readiness test.

Excerpt:

A recently released report confirms what Common Core critics have suspected all along: Common Core State Standards do not adequately prepare students for college-level work.

The ACT report finds many concerning shortcomings in the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by most states. Notably, the report reveals:

  • “While secondary teachers may be focusing on source-based writing [essays written about source-based documents], as emphasized in the Common Core, college instructors appear to value the ability to generate sound ideas more than some key features of source-based writing.
  • “Some early elementary teachers are still teaching certain math topics omitted from the Common Core standards, perhaps based on the needs—real or perceived—of students entering their classrooms.
  • “In addition, many mathematics teachers in grades 4–7 report including certain topics relevant in STEM coursework in their curricula at grades earlier than they appear in the Common Core.”

Teachers who must adjust their curriculum to fit Common Core aligned state tests now find themselves in a bind. As the report finds, the Common Core math standards do not adequately provide a child with the skills needed to succeed in the classroom, forcing teachers to add on extra material to their limited instruction time.

Additionally, high school English teachers must now emphasize material that leaves students lacking in original thought and analytical skills, according to many college professors. For example, only 18 percent of college professors surveyed rated their students as prepared to distinguish between opinion, fact, and reasoned judgement—a skill determined to be important for college-level work.

The “one-size-fits-all” national standards are underserving American children. It is nearly impossible, and does a great disservice to future generations, to demand uniformity and place restrictions on the classroom that assumes one “best practice.”

Common Core was designed to better prepare students for college, but now we know that it had the exact opposite effect from what the leftists intended – and what the leftists promised us. Just like Obamacare, we elected people who didn’t know what they were doing, did something that made the problem worse, and wasted a ton of taxpayer money in the process. Failure across the board.

One obvious point to make about Common Core is that conservatives are right when we say that education is a state and local issue. It shouldn’t be a federal level issue. Ted Cruz was going to abolish the Department of Education at the federal level and push it down to the states, so that we wouldn’t have screw-ups like this. Just think of all the money that’s been wasted on Common Core, and now we find out that it’s a disaster, just like Head Start.

Big government liberals like the idea of making everything equal, but if everything is equally bad then we really should let parents decide how to educate their kids. They’ll make better choices than secular leftist educrats anyway. The right solution is to give the parents a voucher, and let them choose which school to send their child to – and homeschooling parents should not have to pay into a system that they don’t even use.

Study of elementary school children finds entrenched discrimination against boys

The study is here (PDF), and Susan Walsh writes about the study on her blog.

Excerpt:

A new study of nearly 6,000 elementary school children has found that boys are discriminated against beginning in kindergarten. Christopher Cornwell, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, says that ”gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.”

Despite having higher scores on standardized tests, boys get lower grades than girls. Why? Because teachers are basing grades at least partly on classroom behavior, and the standards are very much geared to female norms.

[…]Here’s what the disparity looks like for kindergarten boys:

Std. Deviation Test Scores Grades
Reading -.017 -.27
Math +.02 -.15
Science +.035 -.14

(Note: Values are approx., gauged visually from study graphic.)

Another interesting finding was that boys who adhere to female norms on non-cognitive skills were not penalized. Effectively, the more female behavior was rewarded with a grade “bonus” for males.

The implications of this are obvious. Masculinity, even normal maleness, is being punished in schools from a very young age. Only the most female-acting boys are rewarded with a fair assessment.

I found this story on Stuart Schnederman’s blog, and this is what he had to say about it:

The results demonstrated that schoolteachers are prejudiced against boys. When teachers do not just grade on performance, but include a number of intangible qualities that girls are more likely to possess, they are acting as bigots.

I recommend that everyone pick up a copy of “The War Against Boys” by AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to learn more about this anti-male discrimination problem.

I see a lot of people raving at men to “man up” these days. Many of those people are pastors who remain ignorant about the real, systemic causes of male underachievement. Even very obvious factors – like the dominance of female teachers and administrators in schools – are ignored by the blame-men crowd. Boys generally learn better when they learn from male teachers in all-male classrooms. But unfortunately for boys, there are people who don’t want to do what works for men, especially when it doesn’t fit with feminist ideology.

New study: Asian students outperform white students because they work harder

Asians marry before they have children, so the kids have two parents
Asians marry before they have children, so the kids have two parents

This is from Science, one of the top peer-reviewed journals.

Excerpt:

When it comes to academic achievement, Asian-Americans outclass every other ethnic group, with more than half over age 25 holding a bachelor’s degree—well above the national average of 28%. To find what gives Asian-Americans a leg up, a team of sociologists scoured two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students. After crunching test scores, GPAs, teacher evaluations, and social factors such as immigration status, the team reports a simple explanation online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Asian-American students work harder.

The team found that students from all Asian ethnic groups put greater importance on effort than on natural ability. This outlook, the team argues, causes students to respond to challenges by trying harder and has a greater impact on Asian-Americans’ academic achievement than does cognitive ability or socioeconomic status. However, the team says Asian-American students reported lower self-esteem, more conflict with their parents, and less time spent with friends compared with their white peers. The team suspects the high academic expectations or their “outsider” status in American society could be to blame.

I know this will come as a shock to people on the left, but race has literally nothing to do with academic achievement. If non-whites work harder than whites, then they outperform whites. Period. What matters is how hard you work.

Let’s go into detail to see why Asian children are so much better than non-Asian children. It starts with their mothers.

Consider this article in the Wall Street Journal.

The article is written by Amy Chua:

Amy Chua is the John M. Duff Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her first book World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability was a New York Times bestseller, was selected by both the Economist and the Guardian as one of the Best Books of 2003 and translated into eight languages. Her second book,Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall was a critically acclaimed Foreign Affairs bestseller. Amy Chua has appeared frequently on radio and television on programs such CNN Headline News, C-Span, The Lehrer News Hour, Bloomberg Television, and Air America. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and the Wilson Quarterly. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two Samoyeds in New Haven, Connecticut.

And now, an excerpt from the piece itself:

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it.

[…]Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that “stressing academic success is not good for children” or that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.” By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and that if children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.” Other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children. By contrast, Western kids are more likely to participate in sports teams.

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up.

And here are her three main points:

Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home.)

[…]Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children. (And it’s true that Chinese mothers get in the trenches, putting in long grueling hours personally tutoring, training, interrogating and spying on their kids.) Anyway, the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud.

[…]Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children’s own desires and preferences. That’s why Chinese daughters can’t have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can’t go to sleepaway camp. It’s also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, “I got a part in the school play! I’m Villager Number Six. I’ll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I’ll also need a ride on weekends.” God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.

Then she tells a story about how she coerced one of her children into playing a difficult piece on the piano.

Now you go read the whole article to read the coercion story. Read the coercion story now, I coerce you!

And what do we learn from it? Well, what I learned is that if we Christians want to have any hope of having an influence in the public square, then we will have to marry well, and we will have to train our children like Amy does. We should not be thinking of marriage as a way to have feelings and to gain happiness and fulfillment. Marriage should be about service to God. And one of the ways we serve is by producing children who will have an influence. I think that parents in the West tend to have the idea that the world is a safe place, and that we should try to please our children and make them like us – so that everyone will be happy. But there is one person who will not be happy if we focus on ourselves instead of serving God. Do you know who that might be?

One thing I would say in criticism of Amy is that she seems to only care about grades – which are assigned by teachers who are not necessarily going to have the same goals as a Christian parent. Liberal public schools teachers will grade conservative children down, while grade liberal children up – at least in non-STEM classes. If the class is math or computer science, then your children should be required to be the best. Honestly, public school is child abuse, you should not send your kids there except as a last resort. If you have to budget your whole pre-marriage life to have the money to keep your kids out of public schools, then do it.

Boys are falling further and further behind girls in UK public schools

Boys are enrolling in university at a much lower rate than girls
Boys are enrolling in university at a much lower rate than girls

This story is from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Each time UCAS releases statistics on equality of access to university in the UK, the gap between the entry rates for girls and boys gets a bit worse.

Just before Christmas, our 2015 End of Cycle Report revealed that young women in the UK are now 35pc more likely to go to university than young men, and 52pc more likely when both sexes are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Today we publish data on the sex balance in specific degree courses, which shows that there are more women than men accepted to most subject areas.

This highly entrenched trend is not just a reflection of the preferences of young men and women when it comes to making decisions about their lives after school or college.  It is a direct consequence of years of lower educational achievement by boys, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, throughout primary and secondary education.

At the end of primary education (age 11), only 22pc of boys achieve Level 5 or better in reading, writing and maths compared to 27pc of girls.

By the age of 16, girls are over 20pc more likely to achieve five GCSEsincluding English and Maths at Grade C or better.

By age 18, only 47pc of students studying for pre-university level qualifications are boys. 30,000 more girls than boys are studying for A levels or other academic qualifications which best support progression to higher tariff universities. Some 5,000 more boys than girls are doing vocational qualifications, but girls are outperforming boys in both academic and vocational qualifications at this level.  The only exception seems to be that slightly more of the boys who are doing A levels get the very highest A* grades, and they still do rather better at maths than girls.

Degrees supporting traditionally male-dominated professions such as medicine, law and dentistry now all recruit more female students than male.  And move over James Herriot – 80pc of students accepted to veterinary medicine last year were female.

The UCAS figures today also show that there are more women than men across a range of subjects including, pathology and anatomy, biology, genetics, nursing, social work, and English. Two years ago women overtook men in Philosophy, and the same happened with history subjects in 2011. Given that there are more men than women in the population, to achieve equality, there would need to be around 5pc more men than women across the board.

Why is this happening? Well the author of the piece nails the cause of the problem:

So what is going wrong?  Does lower achievement for boys have anything to do with the 80pc female dominated state schools’ workforce, which includes 85pc female teachers in primary schools and 62pc in secondary?  Would boys respond and learn better with more male teachers and role models? 

[…]What about the curriculum and qualifications?  In all the heated debates about the primary curriculum, I don’t recall hearing anything about the different impacts on teaching and learning for girls and boys.  

If we were serious about fixing this, we would hire more male teachers and administrators in the schools. Boys do better studying material that is boy-friendly, and when the material is taught by male teachers. Boys tend to underperform in mixed-gender classrooms, too. But there is no effort in the schools to fix that, because men can never be victims – only women. No one in the education system wants to fix problems for boys. No one wants to speak up for boys for fear of being perceived as insufficiently feminist.

Are the UK schools doing anything to address these problems?

Of course not:

[…][A]lthough most schools will track the achievement of their boys and girls, there seems to be little focus on the gender gap in education policy.  A recent FOI request by the men’s human rights group, MRA-UK, asked the Department for Education if it recognized boys’ underachievement, what initiatives are in place, and how much is budgeted for them in 2015/16.  The response in July 2015 was “The Department does not fund any initiatives that just focus on addressing boys’ underachievement”.

My advice to young men is to hit the math and STEM hard, and understand that the odds are stacked against you. You have to take your education seriously, because if you don’t no one else will. You have to take your career seriously, because if you don’t no one else will. The system isn’t there to help boys. You’ll have to make your own way on your own strength, and the system is there to fight you all the way.

Michigan public schools to let students choose gender, name and bathroom

National Education Association
National Education Association

Do you think that the decision described in this Daily Caller article was made by parents or local school boards? (H/T Kris)

Excerpt:

Michigan’s State Board of Education has drafted a guidance that would push the state’s schools to allow all students, regardless of parental or doctoral input, to choose their gender, name, pronouns, and bathrooms.

Spearheaded by board president John C. Austin and signed by state superintendent Brian Whiston, the guidance informs Michigan public schools that only the students themselves–i.e. not their parents or doctors–can determine what their individual gender identities are.

“The responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student. Outside confirmation from medical or mental health professionals, or documentation of legal changes, is not needed,” the guidance states.

Gender identity is defined in the guidance as “a person’s deeply held internal sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the biological sex they were assigned at birth.”

Notably, the guidance makes no mention of a student’s age affecting whether or not they can pick a gender without their parent or doctor.

In fact, the guidance seems to intentionally cut parents out of the process.

The guidance states: “School staff should address students by their chosen name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity, regardless of whether there has been a legal name change.”

Students can even ask to have their chosen name and gender “included in the district’s information management systems, in addition to the student’s legal name.”

But what about when school staff members are speaking with parents about their son or daughter?

The guidance states that “Transgender and GNC [gender nonconforming] students have the right to decide when, with whom, and to what extent to share private information.”

Accordingly, the board makes clear, “When contacting the parent/guardian of a transgender or GNC student, school staff should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s assigned sex at birth, unless the student or parent/guardian has specified otherwise.”

In other words, a boy named “Jake” could become a girl named “Jane” at school, seemingly without his parents ever knowing.

Names, pronouns, and genders aren’t the only things the board wants students to choose.

The guidance informs schools that “Students should be allowed to use the restroom in accordance with their gender identity.”

[…]Locker rooms also should become inclusive of students’ many gender identities. “A student should not be required to use a locker room that is incongruent with their gender identity,” the guidance states. “Locker room usage should be determined on a case-by-case basis, using the guiding principles of safety and honoring the student’s gender identity and expression.”

[…]The board quietly issued the statement and guidance on February 23rd, without a press release.

[…]Board president John Austin did not immediately reply to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Previously, I wrote a post explaining why young Christians who are considering getting married and having children need to prepare themselves to bypass the public school sytem. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Christian parents cannot look to the public schools as allies in parenting their children in a way that respects the Christian convictions of the parents. The public schools are not allies.

Since Christian parents are forced to pay for public schools whether they use them or not, Christian parents should be voting for the political party that seeks to lower taxes, shrink government, and push control of education down to the state and local levels. Christian parents should also support politicians who are in favor of school choice – giving parents vouchers that allow parents to use the money for private schools or homeschooling options.

We need to get a lot smarter and vote for smaller government, local control of education and accountability to parents. The public schools are basically controlled by the sexual revolutionaries, e.g. – abortion providers, gay activists, etc. And that’s not even to mention the socialists, the global warming alarmists, the moral relativists, etc. If your goal for your children is to teach them marketable skills and basic moral values, then you need to get as far away from the public schools as possible. Including mandatory funding of them.

By the way, I should note that among his many other excellent qualifications, Ted Cruz also plans to abolish the federal Department of Education and push control of education down to the state and local levels. That would be a good start. He also plans to abolish four more federal departments, and push control down to the state and local level there, as well.

Related posts