Monday, November 22, 2010

Top district lets average kids lag behind

On the same topic, here's Jay Mathews with a column about a teacher who says students in what is supposed to be one of the best school districts in the country are lazy and coasting – and the school system doesn't impose any consequences:

The SAT and Advanced Placement results put out so proudly by the Montgomery County school system suggest that it is among the best districts in the country, but that country has seen no significant increase in math or reading achievement for 17-year-olds in 30 years.

Dan Stephens, who teaches math at Northwood High School, thinks he knows why. It is a reason I have never heard before from his renowned district.

The most prevalent complaint, buttressed by the new documentary "Race to Nowhere" being shown in Montgomery County, is that teachers and principals put too much pressure on the kids. They are jittery, sleep-deprived, maybe suicidal.

Stephens, who teaches Precalculus and Geometry to mostly average kids, thinks his students are the opposite of too stressed. They don't try very hard and know they will still graduate, so no problem.

"All I can do is beg my students to study. Ultimately, they know they don't have to and don't," said Stephens, who has taught for 20 years. "I would guess fewer than a handful actually studied for their test last week. No joke."


Top district lets average kids lag behind

By Jay Mathews

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