Friday, November 24, 2006

Oregon's standards: up to standard?

While we're debating Washington Learns' recommendations here in the Evergreen State, our Beaver State friends have similar issues on the table.
With the state Department of Education swamped with more than 100 e-mails a day on the topic, the Board of Education announced this week that it would push back the final vote on the proposal until mid-January.

The state has beefed up the number of credits students need to graduate. Legislators boosted the English and math credits to four and three, respectively, in 2005.

Chairman Jerry Berger said the board seems to be leaning toward requiring students to take higher-level math classes rather than letting pre-algebra courses count toward a diploma.

The new proposal also would boost the science requirement from two credits to three, including two years of laboratory science.
Good in some ways--all students deserve a challenging education--but I fear for electives and vocational programs, which are already at risk because of increased emphasis on standardized testing. I'm not yet convinced that all students need advanced study in science and math, as interesting as those subjects are to me, and as economically useful as a degree in either can be. Aren't there better incentives, college- or market-wise, that would draw in more students to Science and Its Language? Or is there a good argument to be made that all students should take Calculus and Physics?

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