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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

The Civil what?



200pxabraham_lincoln_seated_feb_9_2 Fewer than half of the 1,200 17-year-olds surveyed by a group called Common Core in January knew when the United States fought its Civil War, and about a quarter could not identify Adolf Hitler. Their knowledge of literature looked even worse, with 4 in 10 unable to pick the name of Ralph Ellison's historic novel The Invisible Man, and half not knowing the basics of the biblical story of Job, as the NY Times reports.

The survey's sponsors, who include education professor Diane Ravitch and teachers union vice president Antonia Cortese, suggest that the results point to the damage that high stakes testing is doing to education by focusing the curriculum too narrowly.

"The nation's education system has become obsessed with testing and basic skills because of the requirements of federal law, and that is not healthy," Ms. Cortese and Dr. Ravitch said to the Times.

We've heard such complaints before here in Florida. But recall the results as you think about this. Music educators said their lessons were getting left out of the FCAT equation, and their compromise was to request another test for music, which they got. Can't you just see more rather than less testing emerge from here? Social studies FCAT is already on the way.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:35am]


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