Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I'm amazed at what teachers can accomplish...
I was looking at the new draft proposal of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Mathematics and one thing struck me: the sheer volume of specific items we require teachers to teach or, more accurately, students to learn, in any year. The content standards are made up of something called "Cumulative Progress Indicators" or CPIs. These are the "things" students are expected to learn. For example, in 4th grade, the first CPI is "Read and Write Whole Numbers through 999,9999." I did an experiment. I don't know how useful it is, I just thought it was interesting. I counted all the CPIs for a single grade, in this case 4th (for no reason). In 4th grade there are a total of 59 CPIs listed. Then I calculated, in a school year we start with 180 days. Subtract 5 for field trips or assemblies or other special events. That leaves 175 days. (I used mental math haha.) If a teacher devotes 45 minutes every day to math, that gives a total 131 hours a year for math. This translates to just about 2 hours for each CPI. Now, some of them, obviously (like counting), won't take two hours (although maybe it would take more than two hours for some kids). But other concepts (like "4.4.4.B.3 Describe the elements of a vertex-edge graph using terms such as, edges, vertices, nodes, neighbors and count the possible paths between any two nodes of a simple vertex-edged graph") must take much longer to teach so that all the kids in the class understand. I just think that's a remarkable pace to keep up, day in and day out, no matter what type of textbook or teaching style a teacher uses.