I'm no Krugman fan, but he has a good point, and it's no red herring.
These standards do not address the needs of countless students who "graduate" from high school and are unprepared for college or for work. Squeezing them into the tests these standards were written to create will not help them. I've never seen anyone get an entry level job that required a knowledge of Algebra. My guess is you haven't either. We can all think of other math courses to which the same thinking applies.
So what about this 55% or so of recent high school graduates who will never earn a two or four year college degree. That's most of our students.
What do these standards offer them? Nothing really, and definitely no keys to unlock some success in the real world of work, a world I sometimes think we like to ignore.
-----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Gerry Rising Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 3:37 PM To: Roberta M. Eisenberg Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Jobs and Skills and Zombies - NYTimes.com
On 3/31/14 12:16 PM, Roberta M. Eisenberg wrote: > > http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/opinion/krugman-jobs-and-skills-and- > zombies.html?emc=edit_th_20140331&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=34947105&_r= > 0 > > > The author is the Nobel prize winning Princeton professor of economics > and nytimes OpEd writer, Paul Krugman. > > One of the the main things pushing the CCSS is what he calls a myth - > the skills gap between what workers have and what employers want. In > other words, making students "college and career ready" may be a false > impetus for the CCSS. > > Bobbi Bobbi, thank you for sharing that. It reminded me of an experience I had some years agowhen I was math coordinator forthe city of Norwalk, Connecticut.
The Norwalk High School guidance counselor called to tell me he wanted me to modify the 12th grade general math course to make it address shortcomings that were reported to him by the local nursing school. He had been told that nurse applicants all failed an entrance examination for the local nursing school and could only be accepted provisionally. What he wanted to do in response to this was have theyoung women who had completed three years of high school academic math take a general math course during their senior year (together with the weakest students in the school) so that they could address this shortcoming.
I told him to hold off until I talked with the nursing school supervisor. The supervisor was very accommodating. "Indeed," she said, "virtually all of our applicants fail this test. It'snot just your schools." I asked her what she did to remedy this situation. "Oh, we give the students training in the measurement and proportiontopics that they failedand they are brought up to our expectations." "How long does that take?" I asked her. "Two one hour sessions," she responded.
This business about people not having job skills that Krugman speaks of is indeed a red herring. Although specific training is appropriate for many professional positions, what business employers really want, if theyhave any sense, is smart people who can quickly learn on-the-job skillsthat differer from setting to setting. The best way for candidates to demonstrate that is prior success in their academic studies.