Here’s a statement at the Education Gadfly by Chester Finn of Fordham Foundation that helps explain why so many entering freshmen end up in remedial classes. It reviews state curricular standards and cites a new report by Fordham on the subject.
A few choice words:
The average grade that states earned from our standards-raters is still C-minus, the same as in 2000 (this despite the fact that most states have since revised or replaced their standards). Two-thirds of U.S. children today attend school in states with academic standards in the C, D, and F ranges.
What exactly do we mean by bad standards? Much the same as six years ago. Too many states still produce vague platitudes instead of clear expectations.
Knowledge is still subordinated to skills. Trendy educational fads like “multiple intelligences” and “constructivism” still sneak into state documents. And kitchen-sinkism is alive and well, as states refuse to make choices and instead develop encyclopedic standards that no teacher could possibly cover in the course of a year, thus rendering the standards useless rather than ambitious.