On Sat, Oct 6, 2012 at 6:14 PM, Robert Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > To clarify, why would more rigorous standards be good for one group and not the other. I thought that is why we ended school segregation, so that minority students had access to better schools. That is the irony of modern reform (the last few decades). They lowered the standards and negated the strides of the previous generations. > > Bob Hansen >
If "the standards" means the minimum math requirements for passing on to the next grade and then graduating from high school, or the quality and quantity of algebraic material in a given grade in middle school and most of high school, or the quality and quantity of algebraic material in a given textbook in middle school and most of high school, then the claim that "they lowered the standards and negated the strides of the previous generations" is a baldfaced falsity.
There used to be no exit exam for any grade, period. Now there are for many grades, and for high school graduation they get harder as time goes on in that each incarnation covers more material or the combination of end-of-course exams covers more material. (The first high school exit exam in FL in the 1980s was just arithmetic, no algebra at all. Now there are exit exams on every math course that they have to have to take to graduate, including algebra and geometry.)
There used to be no requirement to take algebra - and most students who got high school diplomas never even took just Algebra I. Now they all have to take Algebra I and Geometry and now in some places even Algebra II.
It is flat out insane to say that the average high school graduate of 40 years ago (most of which never took even just some algebra) would have been able to pass those high school end of course exit exams for algebra, what all students must now take and pass. (That is, we can't expect one to pass a test on a subject that one never studied.)
Not only that, middle school today is loaded with pre-algebra, which is actually just low level beginning algebra. They did not 40 years ago have this in middle school - it was all just arithmetic. This pre-algebra in middle school came about when they realized that forcing everyone to take Algebra I to graduate when that was the first algebra they ever saw was a mistake.
And this: The math classes in the middle school levels and the algebra classes up through Algebra II are much harder than they used to be in that they cover more advanced material. I already proved in past posts this fact by comparing the content of Algebra I and Algebra II texts from today to 40 years ago.
That is, there is no comparison. Back then, by the end of Algebra II we were barely starting to cover polynomial functions - this was most like because Algebra I in 9th grade was actually just mostly what is today pre-algebra material of middle school, since Algebra I in 9th grade then was the very first exposure to any algebra. Back then, we had to take so-called math analysis after Algebra II before we covered all the material we needed before calculus. This math analysis was just the stuff like exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions and the binomial theorem and vectors and matrices and so on that today is covered by the end of Algebra II. Now, Algebra I in 8th grade is common after all that pre-algebra in middle school.
Again: There is no comparison to what it used to be - much more advanced material is covered now in math for all in the middle and high school levels up through Algebra II, when we do a grade by grade comparison and a course by course comparison.
And also this: The minimum college math requirements to get certified to teach math at either the middle school or high school levels are vastly higher than they used to be 40 years ago.