Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back Machine: I-80 across the Utah border.

To what era would you attribute these comments:
We’re dropping [our] moral and ethical standards in favor of a more national [set], and I don’t like it,”… they contain “code words for socialism.”?
  • A) 1950’s U.S. Senate Committee Hearings
  • B) 2011 Utah Senator
  • C) Both of the above, because there’s really no difference between the two.
If you chose C) then you are right, because they really sound like something Joe McCarthy would have said back in the 50’s and yet they were said just this week by Chris Buttars, a Utah State Legislator.
Reported in the Salt Lake Tribune article, Buttars was referring to a new set of academic standards that 39 other states also plan to adopt.  Developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, not mandated by the Federal Government, the idea is that states need to become better aligned in their math and English curriculum because of an ever increasingly mobile population.
Personally, I agree with the goal.  I’m definitely not for the ultra micromanaging I’ve heard of in other cases, where every teacher should be teaching the exact same thing, with the exact same vehicles, on any given day.  Individualism aside, that doesn’t even allow for adapting to classes that learn faster/slower than others and would mean moving ahead even if the majority of students still don’t get it.  But, at least in math, to know that any student coming into my class has already gone over monomials, inequalities and other things that I have covered, would be quite helpful.  There may still be things that I have covered that their old teacher didn’t, or vica-versa, but at least common standards would help minimize these.
And, regardless of whether or not you agree with them, playing the communism/socialism card is just sooooo 1950’s.


A Paperback Writer said...

Um, does Buttars realize that the most socialistic institution the country has is the public school system? We're already socialist, so what are these horrible "code words for socialism" going to do to us?

Not that I like Buttars or the tight super-red Republican control in this state, but they do have a point: the States (yes, even -- cringe -- Texas) ought to have the right to determine the details of their own curricula. I can see why they're wary of having the federal government butting in. However, Buttars, as usual, is showing no knowledge and giving no legitimate reasons to back up his opinion. As par for his course, he's throwing out fear-based statements and trying to stir up a witch hunt.
I can see how national time-tables might work for math, but I remain unconvinced about tight schedules for English. I have no problem with yearly goals, such as "all ninth-graders should learn how to write a persuasive essay," but I don't want to be told how/when to teach that concept, nor to I wish to impose my own method on anyone else.
But I loathe the Butt-head.

PS Congrats to your team on the win. Please pass on to them our school team's sincere wish that you beat the pants off that other school who's top of your league and whom we hate because they cheat and your school doesn't. We'd much rather play your school for the championship than that other school, since your school has a much better set of integrity standards.

Karen S. said...

Simply said, that man looks very scary! When it comes to math, (one of the most important subjects) I never enjoyed math until after I graduated high school, I had horrible math teachers, really I am so serious, I don't think they even liked math...very negative vives in Michigan and math... and only math. Why was that? Except for multiplication, I so loved it from the very beginning....! Was that second grade?