Forget images of students weighed down by 40-pound book bags and spending most of their time on homework, says a Washington-based think tank.
Students say school is too easy, according to a Center for American Progress examination of federal survey data.
It’s more than pupils whining about classrooms being boring, Ulrich Boser, who co-authored the center’s report, told msnbc.com.
Among key findings in the report, “Do Schools Challenge Our Students,” by the center, which is often aligned with the Obama administration and progressives on policy matters:
- More than a third of high-school seniors report that they hardly ever write about what they read in class.
- Nearly three out of four (72 percent) eighth-grade science students say they aren’t being taught engineering and technology.
- Almost a third of eighth-grade students report reading fewer than five pages a day either in school or for homework.
Center for American Progress
Ulrich Boser, co-author of the Center for American Progress report on
“Students are not being prepared, by and large, for the global economy,” Boser said.
The solution may be found in the higher, tougher standards contained in the Common Core, a program adopted by 45 states but criticized by some as federal overreach, he said.
“They ratchet up standards for all students,” Boser said.
The center delved into the federal data after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released findings in its Measures of Effective Teaching Project in 2011, that student feedback was a far better predictor of a teacher’s performance than more traditional indicators of success, such as whether a teacher had a master’s degree or not.
Tiffany Francis, a second-grade teacher at Pittsburgh King, The Teaching Institute, a public K-8 school in Pittsburgh, said she planned to “give students a voice within my classroom.”
The nine-year classroom veteran participated Tuesday morning in the center's news conference in Washington, where the report was released.
She received results of her first student-perception survey about three weeks ago, Francis told msnbc.com. Data showed kids want to be heard more, she said.
“That will help me in my planning and teaching strategies,” she said.
She said her district pushes students to dig deeper in their explanations of math problems.
“Not just 5+5=10, but show me what that means,” she said. “In reading, we’re not getting opinion and feedback and thoughts; we’re not asking them to dig as deep as they do for math,” she said.
She said she ties her lessons to her students’ backgrounds.
“I make my lessons relevant, differentiating my instruction. Learning is embedded within them, they become better learners, excited to learn.”
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