Saturday, February 26, 2011

Education - CA vs.OR Math Standards

Education - Standards Skew

If you're like me and you've had the opportunity to teach in two different states, you too may have compared curriculums across borders. I happen to teach math now in Oregon and feel it's sparse.

Take a look for yourself on both the California Math Standards for 2nd Grade at:
And then compare to the Oregon Math Standards for 2nd Grade at:

Then you too will see the glaring truth. State standards differ dramatically. I know California is not leading the nation with its educational ranking, however, perhaps their standards are.

I was at a neighborhood dinner recently, one consisting of parents of school-aged children who had moved to Portland from diverse places such as Israel, Texas and Utah. We debated education in Portland quite a bit, but all agreed on one thing in general, why do states not adopt the same set of standards? There rationally has to be a 'better' set. Why do we reinvent the wheel? If one state has better standards, why don't we adopt them as well? Yes, every state has a different population to cater too, but our children across the world are all learning the same basics. There is no silver bullet, no one winning concept, but for those in the states that are so obviously in deficit, why not look to another state that's obviously put a lot more resources into devising their standards.

I wonder if those on the Oregon State Board of Education have compared their standards to other states and have also seen the glaring deficit. I'd love to hear from them. I was more than happy to see that of the seven elected officials on the Oregon State Board of Education that Samuel Henry was my congressional district leader, as he is the one and only current teacher on that list. I've sent him an email with my concerns and hope to hear back from him. I wonder if I'll get a blanket letter back. I will probably have to do some more digging to see how this whole system works in order to whittle my way in, to bring about the change I want to see and think all of our children deserve.

As for now, as a parent and teacher in Oregon, all I can do is supplement at home and hope my children can compete with those from California, Texas, Utah and Israel in the future.
No problem, after I write my novel, go back to teaching, raise two children, feed the dog, make dinner... ug. Why can't I just send my kids to school and forget about it? As one of my friends said during a night of drinking when he was the designated driver, "Someone has to be responsible, may as well be me."

And yes, I've just tied in 'Comparison of State Standards in Mathematics' to drinking, you owe me a shot.


  1. Hey, you! Saw the link to your blog in FB and hopped over.
    I loved some of your poetry. =)
    much love from your cousin, Becca

  2. I read an article about this topic awhile ago. If I remember correctly, once NCLB went into law, standards could not be changed. That is the reason CA appears as if its schools are low performing. Nobody seems to know this and I'm not sure why this information isn't more widespread. I guess it's easier for the press to pick on CA rather than do the difficult job of adjusting scores to compare to the highest state standards. Very frustrating. However, I personally feel ours are too high, especially in math.

  3. Here's a question: which is better? To excel at lowly set standards, or to under perform when the bar is set high? It's easy to simply look at results without any comparison of the tests that formed the data. It takes a little more time to dig into and understand why some states "suffer" in education. I myself would rather have my children and students reaching for the stars rather than pole vaulting a hurdle. I'm just sayin'. ;)

  4. I love the conversation. :)
    I don't think it's a worthy goal if there isn't a "reach" involved. Lowering standards seems to me like quiting. I have worked with some students 3 grade levels below their grade and I expect them to reach standard. If it doesn't happen, well, I've worked my fanny off teaching them as close as possible to that point. And they know I believed they could, and will. So far, I think it's worked to rally the students to their fullest potential. But then, I'm an optimist.