Thursday, August 07, 2008

City Council Weighs in on Math Standards

This from the City Council webpage:

The Seattle City Council has expressed strong support for increasing high school math requirements, as all nine council members signed a letter to the State Board of Education in support of a new law that increases the math requirement for graduation. The issue currently before the Washington State Board of Education after the Washington State Legislature passed 2SHB 1906 directing the Board to increase math requirements for high school graduation from two to three credits.

`“In order for our young people to succeed, they need to be academically ready for post-secondary education or job training programs,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “They need three credits of math.”

While only 38 percent of Washington’s school districts meet the three credit math standard for high school graduation, the minimum college admission standard for freshmen is three credits
-- one credit each in Algebra, Geometry, and Intermediate Algebra II or three credits of Integrated Math through Integrated Math III.

Currently, Seattle Public Schools requires two math credits to be eligible for high school graduation. However, this requirement ill-prepares freshmen for the rigorous curriculum that is critically important to prepare for success in college. By increasing the math requirements, the Board of Education would uphold the State’s commitment to ensure that all those who aspire to job training programs or post-secondary education, including community and technical college and apprenticeships, will be successful.

“Education is the key to opportunity. In order to compete in today’s marketplace, Seattle’s students need to meet a higher math standard,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess.

“We need to send a message to our high school students across the state: Your future depends on being prepared academically. Increasing the math requirement will help do that,” said Harrell."


Charlie Mas said...

Do these City Council members know that the ontime graduation rate in Seattle is less than 50%?

They talk like the students are all meeting the requirements but we just aren't setting the bar high enough.

Students who want to take the three years of math in the proposed requirements all have the opportunity to do so. No one is holding them back from it.

When is the City Council going to wake up and realize that over 50% of the students aren't getting the TWO years of math that the District and the State now require?

If the Council wants to be helpful they can fund the math support needed in grades K-8.

anonymous said...

I don't expect that the 50% of SPS students who currently do not graduate on time, will meet the higher math expectations. Why would they? They are not meeting the current expectations - even with the vast amount of support offered to them. The students that the higher standards will benefit are the students in the middle of the road. The ones who are not on track to drop out, but are also not on track to go to college. These students who often don't have support at home, will be better prepared for college if they should choose to go, and if they choose not to go they will be better prepared in their work place. These are the students that I think the higher expectations will benefit.

There are so many services for struggling students. Go to any struggling high school's web site and look under support services. Even my child's high performing, middle class, middle school, has free tutoring 3 days a week after school (available to all students for free). They also have WASL prep classes for those students who are not on track to pass the WASL this year and need extra support.

Besides all of this voluntary support, low performing schools (under no child left behind) are federally mandated to offer free tutoring to their students. They MUST do it.

Then check out summer school - offered by the district to help struggling students catch up.

Then check out all of the other support services not offered by the district but available in many
SPS schools to low income, minority, and struggling students. Programs like Gear Up, AVID, Urban League Scholars, CAN, Read 180, Team lead, project lead the way, Hero program, Upward bound, Rainier Scholars, Steps Ahead, and Mesa (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement).

You will be amazed at the support services that you find available to struggling students.

The problem is not with the offerings, it is that the students that you speak of, who are not on track to graduate, do not want or seek the help.

So current standards, or higher standards, the students who do not take education seriously will not benefit. The high achievers will achieve whether the standard are raised or not. So whose left. The kids in the middle. They WILL benefit with higher standards and a college prep curriculum

dan dempsey said...

So when did the City Council become experts on Math?

Where were they with an opinion on the last two math adoptions, when it would have counted?

Where have they been on the SPS 50% graduation rate?

What makes anyone take an opinion from these folks on education seriously? This appears to be just more politics and backslapping.