No money, no standards?
Here's an original (and fallacious) thought: when times get rough, absolve children of the need to learn math. That, at least, is the story coming out of Oregon, where budget woes have allegedly forced the state to drop its brand-new graduation requirements in algebra, geometry, and statistics. Set only six months ago, the new bar would turn the already existing high school state math test into a graduation requirement for this year's crop of 9th graders. But since more than half of sophomores typically fail the exam on the first try, the state board of education felt it would be too daunting a challenge to ramp up student performance in time to require total math literacy by 2012. We can't help but wonder if this is a lawsuit-avoidance strategy, as some courts have looked askance at states that set tough graduation expectations but don't provide all manner of extra help to struggling students. Or maybe the economy is just an easy excuse for policymakers to take the easy way out. You know what they say: when the going gets tough, the tough... run in the other direction?
"Oregon to delay math requirement for graduation," by Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian, December 12, 2008
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