I actually agreed with 99% of what Cathie Black wrote in her Daily News Op-Ed today. In the following paragraph, she (or whoever wrote this for her) absolutely nails the problem with current, Regents-focused curriculum:
… it is crucial that we also focus on taking steps that will actually help better prepare our kids for college-level work. That means having a curriculum that teaches students how to write critically, how to back up their arguments with facts and how to apply mathematics to real-world situations. And it means having rigorous assessments that align with the curriculum and measure if our students have mastered those skills. The current Regents exams do not offer that.
Unfortunatly, few will pay attention to that argument, because immediately proceeding it, Black argues for more students to take the Math B exam:
But there are better, more rigorous predictors of college success: One is whether kids master higher-level math courses by the time they graduate. Another is whether students take the more advanced Math B Regents test.
While that sounds like a good idea, the last Math B Regents was offered a year ago, and the exam no longer exists (the Math A and Math B exams have been replaced by ones in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2). Is it really too much to expect the head of the NYC schools to get her facts straight? This, on the heals of this week’s New York Magazine profile where she does not offer one clear and coherent idea for improving schools, seems to confirm the doubts of all who wanted to see someone with education experience in the role.