Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Well-Rounded Education

I was shocked when my wife told me about one of the schools in her district. She said the only elementary school that is fully making the mark in terms of No Child Left Behind "shuts down" at the end of first semester to focus full time on reading and math. Those are the only two subjects tested, so they are the only two that matter in terms of the law. So from the start of second semester through the testing date the only two subjects taught in the whole school are reading and math. Apparently they are not alone.
Schools Cut Back Subjects to Push Reading and Math

Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low-proficiency students, eliminating it. . . .

The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curriculums now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science and art. A nationwide survey by a nonpartisan group that is to be made public on March 28 indicates that the practice, known as narrowing the curriculum, has become standard procedure in many communities.

The survey, by the Center on Education Policy, found that since the passage of the federal law, 71 percent of the nation's 15,000 school districts had reduced the hours of instructional time spent on history, music and other subjects to open up more time for reading and math. The center is an independent group that has made a thorough study of the new act and has published a detailed yearly report on the implementation of the law in dozens of districts.

6 comments:

Hadrian said...

Hmmm... given the already sorry state of education in science and the social sciences in this country, this is a truly unfortunate trend.

Lummox said...

Hay. I gru up geting thiz kinda edmacation and I is oka.

Gobula said...

One big thing that American public schools had going for them was the variety of the curriculum. Wait a second. Shouldn’t we just cut education spending some more? That seems to be working wonderfully well so far.

Gobula said...

Honestly, shouldn't those kids just be playing more video games?

Degolar said...

No, because that will help with critical thinking and problem solving, not reading and math. Duh!

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Found your post and had to lip in. I teach American History to three different groups of 4th graders. The move to cut back on social studies and science is just another knee-jerk reaction to the pressures that NCLB has placed on schools. Test scores aren't improving fast enough so the powers that run around trying a pinch of this and pinch of that. Trouble is they won't stay with something long enough to get an appropriate level of data. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Come visit me sometime. I mainly post on matters of history and my experiences introducing history to nine and ten year olds.