Thursday, June 17, 2010

the sorry state of education in America

Quick—a quiz.  If you know what an analog clock is, raise your hand.  Uh huh. I thought so.  Even my big guys, mostly raised in the digital age, know what an analog clock is.

Last night I was working on setting a calendar for Ryan and Logan for fall.  I’m going to homeschool them, and after I got a basic calendar set up, I spent some time reviewing several math programs.  I know basically what I need but wanted to do some fine tuning for my dynamic duo.  I pulled up 2 documents to help me assess my choices:  The Washington State K-12 Math Standards and a K-8 Math Standard document from an “independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps states raise academic standards…”  This organization, Achieve Inc, has helped 22 states coordinate their math standards so that they are nearly the same in each state.  I wanted to get an idea of “what they needed to know” to stay on target.  (Fortunately, I know that all the math programs I am thinking about blow the doors off the state and national standards so I’m not terribly concerned.)

The reason for the quiz question at the beginning?  I was disturbed to see the following on a 1st grade math standards document:

Tell time from analog (round) clocks in half hour intervals”

Um?? What the heck?!?  ROUND clocks?  What about my square analog clock?  What about the octagonal ones?  If teachers don’t know what an analog clock is, they don’t have any business in the classroom!  Sorry…but that is beyond ridiculous!  If we have to define those terms, we are in worse shape than I realized.

Fortunately  (or unfortunately) I have only read the math standards.  From the experience, though, I have made one decision:  I will stick with what I know works.  I will do my homework and set standards for my guys.  It’s highly likely I won’t ever turn them over to the public sector for education.  And if our local Christian school starts using those standards for curriculum development and  assessment, I won’t turn my boys over to them either.  Ryan and Logan have the right to a better education than that!

Off my soapbox now…  I had a great morning.  Took a lovely drive in the rain.  Got lost, but found some incredible barns and took lots of pics.  Will post later.  Right now math curricula calls.  :\


  1. Yet another reason my kids are in a great Christian school, and why I'm broke!

  2. Oh, Sam! I hear you...on both counts! After years in Christian school (16 so far, with 2 more until Victoria finishes) we are also broke. :) One of the factors in the decision to homeschool the boys...