Diluted Standards - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2217255

Diluted Standards

A state advisory commission has introduced a proposal to reduce the role of Regents exams, calling for a testing change to overhaul the state standards for high school graduation. This is troubling, to say the least, as this will ultimately dilute the standards and rigor needed to fulfill a meaningful and well-rounded education.

Consider: The Program for International Student Assessment found, in 2018, that test scores for 15-year-olds around the world, the U.S. placed only 11th in science out of 79 countries, but much worse when tested for math, where we ranked only 30th. The U.S. test scores were well below the average for the top five, all in Asia.

With the wealth and resources of the U.S., there is no reason that we should not be in the top five in all academic fields of study. Certainly, we should not be diminishing the rigorous standards that are necessary to compete in today’s world.

In Chicago, according to the city’s own accountability report card, 75 percent of the students in elementary school and 95 percent of the students in high school failed to meet state standards. Data from the Illinois State Board of Education shows only 30 percent of third grade Black students could meet or exceed reading comprehension standards, falling to a mere 14 percent for 11th-graders. Chicago’s solution by their political leaders? Wait for it … stop grading schools. This year, the Chicago Board of Education canceled its school ratings policy.

Looking at what is going on in our college campuses now sheds light on the failures of our education system here in the U.S. Student demonstrations that rally around the Palestinian cause, in support of Hamas after the horrendous, unthinkable brutality of their attack on Israel, must make anyone question the root of this misguided reaction. The lack of historical reference and diminished capacity to process the scope of what has happened can be laid directly at the feet of their educators.

One Cornell University professor claimed to be “exhilarated” and “energized” when he learned of the terrorist attacks on Israel during a pro-Palestinian protest, which he led, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. In an interview of protesters elsewhere, one individual was questioned by a journalist about the slogan sign she was holding: “From the River to the Sea.” When asked by the journalist, “What sea?” she had absolutely no clue. When pressed for an answer, she became annoyed, then mad, by the interviewer’s persistence and her own obvious lack of knowledge.

Finally, frustrated, she asked, “What difference does it make?”

Actually, all the difference in the world if you have any historical knowledge of the significance of the Jordan River to the country of Israel.

John Porta