2005-02-09

P + C = F


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Massachusetts is becoming the proving ground for the disasters of political correctness run amock. Tom Mountain of the Newton Tab had this commentary on the Newton Public School District where teaching math is no longer a math teacher's primary objective.

What is a Newton Math Teacher's #1 priority?
"Respect for Human Differences - students will live out the system wide core of 'Respect for Human Differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors. Students will: Consistently analyze their experiences and the curriculum for bias and discrimination; Take effective anti-bias action when bias or discrimination is identified; Work with people of different backgrounds and tell how the experience affected them; Demonstrate how their membership in different groups has advantages and disadvantages that affect how they see the world and the way they are perceived by others..."
Now these are noble ideas, and I hope that they are on display in the classrooms at Newton. But if I were a Newton parent, when the math teacher gets up to teach, they'd better be teaching math! In my personal opinion, Math and English are critical components of education at all levels and, once again, if it were my kids I'd be none too happy about even a moment of teaching time wasted.

The results: Newton 6th-graders are clearly and significantly underperforming all other Mass. districts in standardized math tests. Nearly one-third of their sixth-graders are at a failing level in math. So bad is the problem that one of the Middle Schools in this, one of the wealthiest areas of the state now is in danger of being placed under the Federal "No Child Left Behind Act."
"When a school department determines that ideology should take priority over academics, standardized test scores gradually decline and educational standards suffer. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes time for the decline to take its inevitable course."
The decline? Newton has slid from #7 in their state to #35 over the last five years.

When will people get it? When you reach out a hand, are you seeking to lift others up, or push them down? Then again, what should we expect from the state that give us Kennedy and Kerry, who aren't actually for anything other than throwing stones at what they're against. To gladly forego quality education in favor of promoting a blissful, but impossible existence where inequality is no more is madness. People are different. Get over it.

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