The Scientific American Blog Network has a blog called Budding Scientist. It’s about how to raise children to science literate.
This is not a useless blog. It’s vitally important, especially considering that some 40% of the US population actively rejects science. This (not too out of date survey) indicates the following:
- Only 32% of US citizens think that humans and other living things evolved.
- Only 49% of US citizens think that the Earth is getting warmer due to human activity.
- 69% think that parents should be required to vaccinate their children.
This is pretty abysmal.
Fortunately, blogs like Budding Scientist can help. The latest post (here) is a parent’s guide to the mathematics common core standards.
Basically, the majority of the states in the US (Alaska and Texas are notable hold outs) have joined into large groups to get federal money in a program called “Race to the Top”. I really don’t care about the name, but the program is pretty interesting. The states involved will use the same standards and have the same learning progression as all the other states.
So, if you have a 6th grade student and move from one state to another (as long as it’s not Texas or Alaska), then you’re child will be in the exact same place as from where he left. That’s a very good thing. Also, the standards are pretty tough. The math standards are stronger than 2/3rds of US states.
States also have the ability to add to the standards, but they cannot take away anything.
The blog article takes care of math and I would encourage anyone living in Texas to examine them closely and compare them to what your child is getting (especially in public school). Texas will no longer be the 800 pound gorilla in the education market.
Used to, Texas and California pretty much controlled the textbook and resource market. They were just so much larger than all the other states, that publishers made text books for them and modified them slightly for the other states. That’s no longer the case.
As the states involved in Race to the Top start getting their act together, they will be acting as one, monstrous state for education purposes. Publishers will be making their textbooks align with the common core (and be vertically aligned between grades) instead of doing whatever Texas wants. The publishers want to be able to sell to the largest possible market and the entire Eastern seaboard is a larger market than even Texas.
Plus, much of that Race to the Top money will go toward technology in education. I can speak from experience when I say that certain technologies (SmartBoard and Centro for example) are amazingly useful to teachers that can leverage their abilities in the classroom.
Texas (thanks Rick) won’t get any of that.
Now, the Budding Scientist post is about mathematics. I’m a science guy. So here’s the stuff you should know for science.
First, there won’t be a Common Core for Science. “Common Core” is a brand or trademark name or something like that (I’m not totally sure) and the owners of the trademark (or whatever) are not doing science.
However, there is a K-12 Framework for science (freely available for download here).
This is very similar to the Common Core materials. It covers all three major groups of science (Life, Physical, and Earth/Space) and vertical integration from K-12.
It’s not a very readable document, but it is (I think) vitally important. And it’s another way you can check your child’s education. There is a Common Core for ELA and another Framework document for Social Studies that has yet to be published.
For Texas parent’s it is vital that you get involved and stay involved in your child’s education. If you are seeing that your child’s teachers are not maintaining the requirements that the Common Core and Framework documents are, then speak up.
This is your child’s future. Arguably, the only purpose in a parent’s life is to have and properly raise children. The highest level of education that the child can handle is the minimum she/he will need to survive in the future world.
Our world is changing radically on ever decreasing cycle times. I personally have gone from no internet to my entire entertainment and education system being internet based in just over a decade.