ERIC Number: ED485531
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Reference Count: 0
The State of State MATH Standards, 2005
Klein, David; Braams, Bastiaan J.; Parker,Thomas; Quirk, William; Schmid, Wilfried; Wilson, W. Stephen
Thomas B Fordham Foundation and Institute
Two decades after the United States was diagnosed as "a nation at risk," academic standards for our primary and secondary schools are more important than ever?and their quality matters enormously. In 1983, as nearly every American knows, the National Commission on Excellence in Education declared that "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people." Test scores were falling, schools were asking less of students, international rankings were slipping, and colleges and employers were complaining that many high school graduates were semi-literate. America was gripped by an education crisis that centered on weak academic achievement in its K-12 schools. Though that weakness had myriad causes, policy makers, business leaders, and astute educators quickly deduced that the surest cure would begin by spelling out the skills and knowledge that children ought to learn in school, i.e., setting standards against which progress could be tracked, performance be judged, and curricula (and textbooks, teacher training, etc.) be aligned. Indeed, the vast education renewal movement that gathered speed in the mid-1980s soon came to be known as "standards-based reform." Central as standards are, getting them right is just the first element of a multi-part education reform strategy. Sound statewide academic standards are necessary but insufficient for the task at hand. This report evaluates that necessary element. Besides applying the criteria and rendering judgments on the standards, Klein and his team identified a set of widespread failings that weaken the math standards of many states. These are described beginning on page 9 and crop up repeatedly in the state-specific report cards that begin on page 37. Klein also offers four recommendations to state policy makers and others wishing to strengthen their math standards. Klein makes one final recommendation that shouldn? standards are developed by people who know lots and lots of math, including a proper leavening of true mathematicians. One hopes that state leaders will heed this advice.
Descriptors: Mathematics Skills, Elementary Secondary Education, Academic Standards, State Standards, Excellence in Education, Educational Change, High School Graduates, Educational Policy
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1627 K Street, Northwest Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20006. Tel:410-634-2400; Web site: http://www.edexcellence.net/publication/order.cfm.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Washington, DC.