Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Study: Kids Say School Is Too Easy

According to a new study out today from the Center for American Progress, which picked over three years of data collected by the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, 37 percent of fourth-graders say their math work is “often” or “always” too easy, 57 percent of eighth-graders says the same about their history work, and 39 percent of seniors say they rarely have to write papers on what they read about in class.

Almost a third of eight-graders say they read less than five pages a day, and are only required to write long answers on reading tests twice a year or less. 

Among the key findings:

Many schools are not challenging students and large percentages of students report that their school work is “too easy.”

Many students are not engaged in rigorous learning activities.

Students don’t have access to key science and technology learning opportunities.

Too many students don’t understand their teacher’s questions and report that they are not learning during class.

Students from disadvantaged background are less likely to have access to more rigorous learning opportunities.

Policymakers must continue to push for higher, more challenging standards.

Students need more rigorous learning opportunities, and our nation needs to figure out ways to provide all students with the education that they deserve.

Researchers and educators should continue to develop student surveys.

A PDF copy of the report can be found at Do Schools Challenge Our Students?


  1. I just happened to catch this segment on 60 Minutes this past Sunday called:

    Redshirting: Holding Kids Back from Kindergarten

    Could there be a possible Correlation?

    (CBS News) Kindergarten "redshirting" is on the rise. That's the practice of parents holding their children back from kindergarten so they can start school at age 6 -- older, bigger, and more mature than their 5-year-old peers. Some research shows that redshirting will give these youngsters an edge in school, and maybe even in life. But is it fair? After all, as Morley Safer reports, boys are twice as likely to be held back as girls. Whites more than minorities. And the rich redshirt their kids more than the poor.

    The following script is from "Redshirting" which originally aired on March 4, 2012 and was rebroadcast on July 8, 2012. Morley Safer is the correspondent. Deirdre Naphin, producer.

    Kindergarten was once milk, cookies and finger paints. In a countrywide epidemic of hyper-parenting, it's becoming blood, sweat and tears. So maybe you played Mozart for your baby while he was still in the womb and gave him Chinese lessons at age 2, tried everything to give your kid an edge and then when he's 5, well you don't exactly cheat, but you game the system.

    Elizabeth Levett, a kindergarten teacher for more than 20 years, says 5-year-old kindergarten students can have a hard time keeping up with the 6-year-olds whose parents held them back.

    Watch the Segment:

    1. All of this points to the epidemic that is plaguing America - gaming the system at all levels.
      As Gordon Gekko famously proclaimed, "Greed is good".

    2. “A Greedy father has thieves for children”
      - Serbian Proverb

      “Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed”
      - Bhagavad Gita

  2. All I can say is what I say to my own children. "If it's so easy why aren't you getting all As? Get all As and you'll prove it's easy."

    1. All I can say is that it seems quite clear to me that the rigor and expectations in school today are much lower than when I was a student some 40+ years ago. This is borne out by the way academic standings for the US have declined relative to other countries over that period.

    2. In the US All children recieve the opportunity of an education (legal citizens or not) for 12 years. "In other Countries" a decision is made very early in life as to who continues on geting an education and who must work in the fields. Comparing apples and oranges can lead you to your own interesting results.

    3. Among OECD countries, based on a 2010 study, the US ranked behind South Korea, Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Estonia, Switzerland, Poland and Iceland. Which countries do what you claim and please document it.

    4. By the way, that study was only of countries that were members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

  3. Stupid In America: What's Wrong with the U.S. Education System?

    By: Mike Shedlock - Mon., Mar 15, 2010

    The following video should be required viewing for every member in Congress, every teacher in the United States, and every parent with children in public education.

    The video is 40 minutes long but I assure you that watching it will be time well spent. The video compares the U.S. public education system with that in Europe, and with magnet and charter schools vs. districts where there is no competition. The results are shocking!!!

    Please watch:


    Here are a couple of select quotes:

    From a parent: "I would not send my kids to an American public school, not even for a million dollars."

    From a student: "I think it's a pity that American children don't have the same opportunities and the same choices that we have."

  4. If you are over the age of forty, the education you received from the public school system would equate to that if a middle school student today. You would have taken (on average) far less mandatory academic classes and many more non academic electives. You may have had wood shop, art, music, or even gym throughout you high school career. Today, there is very little room, or money, in school systems to allow for such frivolities.

    Also, when you were in high school, there were no high stakes tests to pass in order to gain that diploma. When you graduated, you either went to work, to the military, or to college. Once you chose your path to the future, you were relitively certain that you would have a job for life. It isn't that way today. The military is only taking the brightest and the best, and, while colleges will accept almost anyone, there is a forty percent dropout rate. Whats left--- a minimum wage job at Micky D's.

    So, when you say that school is easier today, just take a sample MCAS and see if you would graduate today....


All comments subject to moderation. All commenters must use their own name or a screen name. No comments labelled as "Anonymous" will be published. To use your name or a screen name select "Name/URL" from the drop down menu. Insert you name in the "Name" space and leave the "URL" space blank.