Friday, August 26, 2005

Content-free "standards"

Kevin Killion of the magnificent illinoisloop site combed through the Illinois Science Standards and made a list of words that are NOT in these so-called "standards". It's all about process. Knowledge is out. This is how constructivism is institutionalized:

The Illinois State Board of Education would have you believe that our official state standards for science education are tough and demanding.

But what could possibly be the point of a science standard that doesn't even mention "mammals", "machine", "electronics", "acid", "radiation", "reptile", "dinosaur", "evolution", "pollution", "oxygen", "organ", "muscle", "brain", "lung", "heart", "smell", "taste", "touch", "skin", "fat", "sugar", "salt", "volcano", "geology", "meteorology", "astronomy", "eclipse", "sunrise" or "sunset"?

Read the entire list at illinoisloop

I have taken the trouble to look at the Illinois Learning Standards for Science. It's pathetic! There is no there there.

The "standards" turn out to be three goals for science education covering the whole gamut from "early elementary" to "late high school." These goals are:

STATE GOAL 11: HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROCESSES OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY AND TECHNOLOGICAL DESIGN TO INVESTIGATE QUESTIONS, CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS.

STATE GOAL 12: HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE LIFE, PHYSICAL, AND EARTH/SPACE SCIENCES AND THEIR CONNECTIONS.

STATE GOAL 13: HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY IN HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS.

I clicked on the goals to see if any factual knowledge is specified for individual grades. Not at all. No specific grades, no specific knowledge. Instead there is a verb salad of things to do, all in the constructivist mold. It's all about collecting and recording data, constructing charts, identifying a design problem, assessing results, reporting test design, building a prototype, developing a plan, design and procedure, formulating a hypothesis and so on.

Under understanding concepts each item starts with a verb. It's compare, identify, describe, explain, demonstrate ad nauseam.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that the situation is similar in most other states.

4 comments:

Polski3 said...

Maybe this is a new strategy for helping schools meet NCLB requirements ? Another part of the Idiotification of America !

NYC Educator said...

You unearth so much atrocious writing in your quest for crappy education that I'm beginning to see a definite link between the two...or perhaps there's a secret code in the humorless, witless, pedantic drivel that gets people wherever it is that leaves them making preposterous presentations to teachers.

You ought to see some of Chancellor Klein's "teacher training" and the 100K+ syncophants instructing people how to read aloud to teenagers. Better bring a book, though.

Instructivist said...

"You unearth so much atrocious writing in your quest for crappy education that I'm beginning to see a definite link between the two..."

The two go hand in hand.

If you are a snake oil salesman, would you want a clear product description?

NYC Educator said...

Perhaps Klein wants to get rid of actual literature in English classes simply to preclude comparisons with curriculum writers.