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Report gives Rhode Island standards a “D”

July 21, 2010

Rhode Island’s standards for English and math education are among the worst in the country, according to a report out today by the Fordham Institute, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy group. Overall, the group gives Rhode Island a “D” in both subjects. The report calls the state’s English standards repetitive and lacking specifics. It found math standards “poorly organized” and in one case even “mathematically backwards.”

The study rated state standards for K-12 education around the country and compares them to the new Common Core standards developed by the National Governors Association. Rhode Island adopted the Common Core standards this summer, which the report gives an A- in math and a B+ in English.

Rhode Island officials questioned the methodolgy of the study, which assigned different grades to some states that use the same or similar standards to Rhode Island. The Fordham Institute has advocated in favor of national standards, though critics say a one size fits all approach is not the best way to improve public education.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard Pronovost permalink
    July 22, 2010 5:24 pm

    I am a high school math teacher and have taught in the Providence School System for the past 12 years (as a 2nd career). My primary concern is with the new Common Core Standards and new curriculum. Many of my math students come to my Algebra 1 or Geometry classes with math skills at a 4th or 5th grade level. In the past, much of the 1st semester has been spent on remediation. Unfortunately, these new standards briefly focus on basic math skills then go right into Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra 2 concepts. We have been told that the new standards/curriculum process is like a bus where students either stay on and move forward at a brisk pace or are dropped off and left behind. This has resulted in many students either failing the course or eventually dropping out of school altogether.

    The other problem is that the failing students usually act out in class and disturb the classroom setting. When you have 29 students in class, just a few of these disruptive students can significantly disrupt the entire educational process. Detention and suspension are ineffective deterrents to inappropriate classroom behavior. I’m no psychologist, but I realize that this disruptive behavior usually masks deficiencies in knowledge and/or skills. I’ve seen an increase in frustration from these “at risk” students as they not only deal with their mathematical requirements but also with science where they have to pass biology, chemistry, and physics.

    The actions taken by school districts to adopt more rigorous standards look good on paper. I believe that many Providence Public School students have and will continue to”rise to the occasion.” I have seen their progress as they go through high school and I applaud their effort and accomplishments. However, I sincerely believe, that many more students will become childen that are left behind. This result is contrary to our mandate to leave no child behind. To quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet…”(therein) lies the rub.”

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