This post is just a light-hearted caveat provided to prove a point often made by parents against reformers who have no children of their own, or if they do, who have sequestered them far away from the very programs they try to pin on public schools.
In a quarterly review with a student, I noticed this one student was now getting A’s on Chemistry. Point was, he F’d it all marking periods the previous year…
“I actually like chemistry” he said. “It makes such sense I don’t know why I didn’t pick up on it last year.”
“Is their a difference in the difficulty level perhaps”I asked.
“Last year was AP Chemistry, and this year it is just regular… ”
“Why do you think you didn’t learn it last year?”, I asked.
“Well, we covered too much too fast. It was impossible to ask questions, and at first when I did, I was kinda told I was stupid, so I never did again. ”
“Also there was so much homework, I couldn’t keep up with all my other classes, and we were given an old textbook for reference, since it was AP and there was not book, just sheets of handouts.”
I responded: “Are you saying essentially that AP is too difficult and emphasizes doing busy work, but your class now is easier and so the emphasis is more on learning?”
A look of realization crossed his face… “Why, yes,… that is exactly it.”….
Ladies and Gentlemen: Rigor is bad, and has no business being in any classroom in America, unless those classrooms are in our most prodigious universities which at that point, are undergoing the process of selection for future pre-Med.