Sunday, March 26, 2006


The New York Times reports today about something that is really going on in classrooms in low-income neighborhoods because of testing requirements -- math and English are valued above all else. Social studies and science are classes from which people have no problem pulling children for extra support, and students at my school spend twice as much time in math and English as in science and social studies.

Having math and English be a larger part of students' days is not such a bad thing -- indeed, social studies should be a history-focused literacy class. But de-emphasizing or taking away social studies or science altogether is simply wrong. Why shouldn't students in low-income areas be just as well-rounded as those in the suburbs? States must confront the bigger problem in their low-income schools -- keeping experienced teachers on the job so they can make the most of the class time they have. Taking away classes that help students learn history and how the world works does more harm than good.


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