Comments about ‘Randy Shumway: Streamline educational oversight, set milestones’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 9 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

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Carolyn Sharette
Sandy, UT

I would support the streamlining of public education in a K-20 system. Connecting higher education with the preparatory levels, and connecting the entire system to business and the workforce is key.

The needs and demands of the workplace need to be constantly before us as we prepare students for their futures. It is difficult to connect these things in our current system, and we continue to send too many unprepared young adults into college and the workforce.

The milestones do need to be clarified, then aggressively pursued by students, parents and teachers alike. At our schools, we know how many words/minute a student needs to be able to read at each grade level to comprehend text. Students take home a paper each day that lists the reading goal and students record their achievement level that day toward that goal.

This is one of our "laser focus" activities that helped 100% of 2nd, 5th and 7th graders achieve proficiency in reading and 96% of all other students achieve it. With similar focus, 100% of our Algebra and Geometry students achieved proficiency, and 97% of Jr. High Math students overall.

Thanks to Mr. Shumway for another insightful piece.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

What is the point in setting new milestones, if the standards are so low?

If they want to improve education 2 things must be done.

1. Learning standards must be raised. If you only expect a 4th grade student to do what a 2nd grade student did 30 years ago, that is the wrong direction.

2. Concequences must exist for failure. If a student fails their class, they do not receive credit and do not advance with their classmates. Hold a child back for not learning. At the same time, schools need to be held accountable for having students that do not meet the minimum requirements.

Get that first, then, we can talk about milestones.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

As long as the Utah legislature is in charge of education funding and standards, nothing is going to change.

Also to redshirt, you obviously haven't been in a classroom since your own childhood or you would know that today's 4th graders are doing what we did in junior high. Today's junior high kids are doing what we did in high school.

My kids are taking Geometry in 8th grade. Something we didn't do until 10th or 11th grade back in the day. No it isn't the "watered down math" the old timers like to complain about. They had to do proofs just like I did. My son will be taking Calculus in 11th grade.

I do like one proposal I heard recently. Your state income taxes should be based on your child's grades. We would see a DRAMATIC increase in parent participation.

  • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, 2010
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RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Orem Parent | 7:30 p.m. " I have kids in elementary school, and have worked with kids in Highschool.

The classrooms are changing for the worse. If you look at what they teach in math, yes they teach "advanced" subjects, but they sacrifice mastery of the basics. Just look at the grading system for Elementary grading system now. Where once they received letter grades, they now are at grade level, below grade level, or inadequate.

I don't know where you went to school, but the kids I have interacted with have lower standards to meet than I had.

While you are a mother, the teachers that I have spoken with say that what they teach is not a difficult as what was taught 20 or 30 years ago.

As for your son taking Calculus, I hope you don't plan on him taking the AP test because the AP test program is more concerned about the number of kids passing than proving that the kids who take the test know the subject.

rnoble
Pendleton, OR

Mr. Shumway errs in defining educations success by earning potential. Education is about the whole man or woman. He is correct in requiring a change but not to expand the current K-12 to K-20. The current system has failed us. Research shows that life long learning is effected most by both positive experiences in the first three years of formal training and the attitudes of the people in the home about education and children.

Our task to improve education is to make sure learning potential is maximized with net positive experience during those first years and then individual mastery of subjects before moving on in subsequent years. We should abandon K-12 in favor of three years of general grade assignment followed by 10-20 years of increasingly difficult concepts based on solid foundations at each step. It is much easier to get straight A's than to get C's because the underlying information is known and does not have to be re-learned at each step. Additionally, we should begin specializtion of education much earlier; perhaps among the 12 to 15 year-old age group. Their interest would remain higher if they were working to strengths.

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